BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Since losing the June Democratic primary for re-election, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has launched a full scale write-in campaign to try to win his fifth term in office.
But for now, it looks like he will be on the ballot.
"I think lawyers would refer to it as black letter law," New York State Board of Elections spokesperson John Conklin said. "If you write in the name of a candidate whose name is already printed on a ballot, that vote would be void as to that office and that candidate."
Conklin said the fact that Brown is on the Buffalo Party line, pending court appeals, could pose a problem for him if people choose to write in his name anyway.
"I think there may be consequences to that for confusion with the voters," he said. "I think it will be very interesting to see after Election Day when you look at the ballots, how many people wrote in his name so that they would have been ballots for him, but would end up being void because his name's already on the ballot, but they wrote him in additionally."
Across the city, there are "Write Down Byron Brown" signs. University at Buffalo political science professor Jacob Neiheisel said the campaign may want to consider taking them down soon.
"Were I advising the campaign, I think I would immediately rebrand to the extent that it's possible at this late stage to just say 'select Brown' and then tell people that he's going to be associated with a different party label, a different party name," Neiheisel said.
He does not believe it's too late for the campaign to change strategies though. Neiheisel said there's roughly a two-week window before the election when most people begin paying attention closely.
"I certainly would rather have a name on the ballot then rely on a robust write-in turnout. That tends to be a big ask for voters," he said.
Conklin and Neiheisel agree, depending on the outcome, the mayor's election may be ripe for more litigation.
"Anything can happen when you get inside a courtroom. I didn't think that he was going to get on the ballot," he said. "All the lawyers I spoke to before the federal court case didn't think he had a prayer of getting on the ballot."
A judge issued a preliminary injunction on an appeal of a state Supreme Court decision Wednesday, prohibiting the Erie County Board of Elections from certifying ballots until after she makes a ruling. The hearing is scheduled for next week.