Tuesday morning the Board of Elections heard arguments from candidates and the challengers to their petitions. Before the process began however Mr. Michael Rendino was introduced as the new Bronx Republican commissioner replacing the flamboyant J.C.Polonco. In all there were 70 challenges to Bronx petitions, and it was announced the Board of Elections received over 1700 documents the largest citywide total in many years.
Early into the proceedings King Stanley Schlein was winning decisions, and the one where he lost he uttered those famous words "For The Moment" when it was said the candidate he was challenging was told they were on the ballot.
An interesting challenge was that of the petition of Ms. Raquel Batista (15th council district) where the board threw off hundreds of signatures because the county at the bottom of the witness statement was listed as Bronx when the two signature gathers lived one in Queens and the other in Westchester County. King Stanley and the opposing lawyer sparred back and forth with the commissioners about past rulings statewide. After about 15 minutes Bronx Democratic Commissioner Naomi Barrera then made a motion to move the clerk's report (that would have candidate Batista off the ballot) which was seconded by Bronx Republican commissioner Rendino. A vote by the 10 commissioners was 2 in favor (Barrera & Rendino), 6 against the motion, and 2 abstaining. The motion was then amended by a different commissioner to allow for curing of the petition (where representatives of both the candidate & challenger went into a room to go over the petition and the specifications of objections). The vote on the amendment was 8 in favor (including commissioner Rendino), 1 against (commissioner Barrera) and, 1 commissioner abstained as he had done on the original motion.
450 valid signatures is needed to become a candidate for city council now down from 900 four year ago. Candidates that were ruled off the ballot at the Board of Elections in the Bronx were. In the 8th council district candidate Angel Molina was knocked down to 348 valid signatures and ruled off the ballot.
In the 11th council district candidate Fernando Spies only submitted,197 signatures, and candidate Cheryl Keeling was knocked down to 427 valid signatures, both were ruled off the ballot.
In the 12th council district no one was knocked off the ballot by the commissioners.
In the13th council district candidate Irene Estrada was ruled to have 104 valid signatures, and candidate Awilda Cordero was ruled to have 90 valid signatures knocking both off the ballot.
In the 14th council district there was a question of residency to candidate Jessica Vigueras, where as King Stanley (for her opponent) went over party raiding quoting from the George Espada vs Board of Elections case. King Stanley brought out copies of candidate Vigueras's previous enrollment in the Republican party in Westchester County. He then said one must wait one year after changing party enrollment to run for office. This was put off for later after all the challenges were to be heard. I did not stay as I left after the Bronx was finished.
In the 15th council district candidate Kenny Agosto was knocked down to 290 valid signatures, candidate Cynthia Thompkins was knocked down to 423 valid signatures, both were ruled off the ballot.
In the 16th council district a question of candidate Pedro Alvarez's residency was referred to legal and not ruled on by the commissioners. Candidate Niyyirah El was knocked down to 133 valid signatures, and candidate Winston Rouse was knocked down to 172 valid signatures, both were ruled off the ballot.
In the 17th and 18th council districts no candidates were ruled off the ballot.
In the special election in the 86th Assembly district candidate Isreal Martinez was ruled off the ballot for living in the 87th A.D. and not the 86th A.D. It was also said that the candidate never lived in the 86thA.D.
On a recall of objections passed on by the commissioners 16th council district candidate Naaimat Muhammed was ruled off the ballot for an improper cover sheet, and not curing it when notified by the BOE. Also 15th council district candidate Raquel Batista was ruled on the ballot when 385 additional signatures were ruled to be valid bringing the total to 512 for enough valid signatures.
The commissioners of the Board of Elections two from each borough, and one from each of the two major parties sit around the large circular table. Various BOE staff sit in the inside of the table. New Bronx Republican commissioner Michael Rendino is second from the right and next to an empty chair.
Veteran election lawyer "King" Stanley Schlein stands next to an associate as they challenge the petition of 15th candidate Raquel Batista standing next to her lawyer.