Most Democratic candidates for Auburn City Council or Cayuga County Legislature seats are technically running on multiple ballot lines, including Auburn First. But on nearly every ballot in the city's six election districts, Auburn First will not have its own line.
The reason: A provision in state election law that prohibits candidates from appearing on independent ballot lines if they already have at least two political party lines.
Incumbent Auburn city councilors Terry Cuddy and Debby McCormick will appear on the Democratic and Working Families party lines. They also circulated petitions to run on Auburn First, an independent line. Elane Daly, a candidate for county Legislature in District 11, also has the Democratic, Working Families and Auburn First lines.
But because Auburn First is an independent body and the three candidates already have two political party lines, Auburn First must share space with one of the party lines.
Cuddy, Daly and McCormick each added Auburn First under the Working Families Party line.
"They get a choice of which line to put it on," said Katie Lacey, the Cayuga County Democratic elections commissioner.
The purpose of the regulation is to prevent candidates from appearing on multiple independent lines. Statewide elected officials and state legislators are exempt from the law.
John Conklin, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections, confirmed that the city of Auburn ballots are correct.
"If you have two parties and one independent body, the independent body (Auburn First) is combined with one of the parties to share a line," he said. "If you have one party and one independent body, they each get their own line."
That's why Robert Nodzo, a candidate for Cayuga County Legislature in the 13th District, will have a separate ballot line for Auburn First. He has the Democratic line, but unlike many of his colleagues, he doesn't have the Working Families Party line.
Because he has one political party line, he's allowed to have a separate line for Auburn First.