What names and symbols are allowed/prohibited for local village “parties” that nominate candidates for village offices? First, technically, unless the entity received 50,000 votes for its candidate at the last gubernatorial election, it’s not a “party.” Instead, the election law refers to it as an “independent body.”

The election law restricts the names and emblems that can be used by both official “parties” and “independent bodies.” Two different sections of the election law, read together, require that the name be in English, but prohibit the use of any name that includes the name of any existing “party,” and further expressly prohibits the inclusion of the words “American,” “United States,” “National,” “New York State,” and/or “Empire State.”

Petitions that nominate candidates are supposed to include a “symbol,” as well as a name. “Symbols” are more restrictive, however. Prohibited symbols include any symbol/emblem similar to one used by any political or governmental body. Similarly prohibited are religious symbols, personal portraits, and any currency of the United States. Finally, the law broadly prohibits the use of any symbol “similar to or likely to create confusion with the name or emblem of any other existing party or independent body.”

Curiously, the omission of a name or symbol can be cured by the Village Clerk, but the use of a prohibited name or symbol can be fatal to a filed Designating or Nominating Petition.

Peter A. Bee
Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan, LLP