Don’t let the powers that be in NYC fool you, New York City is far from progressive as they say they are and democracy especially when trying to just get on the ballot is far from democracy and is what helps keeps crooked, do nothing incumbent elected officials in power and the idiotic throwing out of signatures is the tool the do nothing and crooked elected officials like Leroy Comrie and Ruben Wills have used many times to keep competition out, since many of them know that the right candidate will stop them in their tracks.
Case in point, a bright, educated, Navy veteran, wounded warrior, cyber expert who knows her way around Washington DC, Cambria Height’s Bernadette Semple, wanted to get on the ballot to challenge Leroy Comrie for a Senate seat. Well, I guess this did not set too well with Comrie and his henchman, like Archie “The Dean” Spigner, who immediately began challenging petition signatures of Bernadette Semple. After court hearings and a financial cost to Semple, she was thrown off the ballot and Comrie ran unopposed and the community got SHIT again after 12 years of his fat ass as city council member (https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/what-leroy-comrie-did-to-senate-candidate-bernadette-semple-is-a-form-of-voter-suppression/). We could have had a bright, educated veteran and woman of color to represent us and instead we got fat ghetto Comrie. I mean what a role model Semple could have been to young females of color in this community. Crooked Ruben Wills did the same thing in his past elections of eliminating the competition (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/queens-city-council-candidate-ruben-wills-throws-punch-rival-board-elections-office-article-1.398612). And Assembly Member hack, Alicia Hyndman also engaged in this shady practice (https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/here-we-go-again-crooked-southeast-politicians-remove-de-mendonca-from-29th-assembly-primary-ballot/). The most dangerous ghetto hood rats are not on the streets of Jamaica, they are in local political office.
AND besides idiot sheeple who listen to crooked preachers like Rev. Flake and are too stupid to think for themselves, this archaic system is another reason why we have the SAME OLD SHIT in office year after year after year.
NYC, not as progressive or democratic as you think it is, but yet the elected officials will spend all of the energy on Trump. BUT we have a city that is exploding and imploding at the same time do to greedy, corrupt, do-nothing, dirty elected officials.
From The Daily News:
Sometime this weekend, you will no doubt be accosted by a chipper campaign volunteer with a clipboard asking you to sign a petition to help get a candidate on the ballot.
Every candidate for any citywide office needs to get these signatures — 450 in the case of City Council members, 3,750 for mayoral candidates. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but then again …
1. The signatures must come from registered voters.
2. Those voters can only sign petitions for candidates in their party.
3. And they can’t have already signed for someone else running in the same race.
4. And those party members must live in the jurisdiction in question (so much for collecting signatures at crowded places like Grand Central if you’re running in the Bronx!).
5. And these voters must sign the petitions the right way, with their signature in the signature line, their printed name under that, and their address to the right exactly as the Board of Elections has it in its files.
6. Most voters have never seen these petitions and have no idea what you’re talking about when you ask them to sign. Many believe you are asking them to support the candidate, rather than merely get the candidate on the ballot.
7. Most people, in general, do not like to be bothered by other people asking them to do something. Especially in a park. Because it’s weird.
8. Oh and sometimes it rains, meaning that you have to take cover indoors (and library branches or post offices don’t let you collect signatures!).
The arcane rules and multiple chances for error discourage many candidates from even bothering. Those who persist will typically have their petitions challenged by their richer, more-connected opponents. That’s why most campaigns collect three to 10 times more signatures than they need — so when the Board of Elections throws out half the signatures on technicalities, the candidate can still get on the ballot.
Of course, those challenges cost money to fend off, and take time off the campaign trail, which is another failure of the current system. About the Bar Association says that half of all election litigation in the country is conducted in New York State, thanks to our way of doing things.
“Whether a challenge is valid or not, it can tie you up in court for a week or two. And there goes 20 or 30 grand,” said John O’Hara, a longtime Brooklyn gadfly who is trying to get on the ballot against the Democratic Party establishment for a seat on the civil court. “That’s why a lot of first timers don’t get on the ballot. It’s sort of a minefield set up by the Legislature to keep candidates out of the system.”
Indeed, true grassroots campaigns tend not to have deep pockets to pay for signature collectors, so they rely on volunteers. Or, they rely on me.
Yes, despite the journalistic credo to merely observe rather than participate in the stories I cover, I spent a few days last week carrying these petitions for Cristina Furlong, a community activist who wants to run for the City Council in central Queens. (Full disclosure: There’s nothing to disclose; I don’t know Furlong personally. She’s a grassroots community leader who wants to do politics the right way, not for gain or spite, but to improve our neighborhoods. Oh, and she’s also running against an actual criminal named Hiram Monserrate and a party hack named Francisco Moya, so there’s that, too.)
I got about 15 signatures in the first two hours, but then had to stop because of torrential rains (see note 8 above). The inundation of my shoes eventually subsided, but my frustration did not. So I went out again a few days later and got about five signatures in 30 minutes. And I did a second pass through Park of the Americas in Corona and, again, got another five John Hancocks (though I really mean Julio Janquillo, given how many Spanish speakers I encountered, as you can see in the above video). In all three cases, every time I approached someone for a signature, I felt like I was holding out a bag of excrement, albeit one with the word “democracy” on it.
It’s a flawed system. Other states have other ways, of course, but this is politically dysfunctional New York State (yes, I’m looking at you, Albany). Certainly, candidates need to show some level of support before they should be allowed on the ballot — indeed, if there was no bar to getting on the ballot, there would be 10,000 candidates for every open seat — but can’t we do better than sending out sweaty volunteers with 17th-century writing implements and sheets of paper to accost apathetic people in the vain hope that they are actually registered voters?
“Maybe you could qualify for the ballot if you meet the threshold for matching funds,” said election lawyer and expert Jerry Goldfeder, who has run for office himself. “Or you could pay a straight fee.”
I didn’t like the sound of a ballot-access fee, which party leaders could set too high for grassroots candidates to qualify, but Goldfeder said if the fee was set properly, it would end up being cheaper than printing up petitions and spending all that time and money to collect signatures and ward off petition challenges.
There has to be a better way in our digital age. But until that day comes, you’ll still be bothered by someone like me with a clipboard and a pen.