The White Plains Democratic Primary is little more than a month away and city Democrats are fighting down to the wire on who should be allowed on the ballot.
With ballot petitions in and filed, the team endorsed by the White Plains Democratic City Committee, incumbent mayor Tom Roach, incumbent councilmembers John Kirkpatrick and John Martin and candidate for Common Council Justin Brasch have challenged the signatures submitted by Councilwoman and candidate for mayor Milagros Lecuona and her running mates, candidates for Common Council, Alan Goldman, Michael Kraver and Saad Siddiqui.
According to Tim James, chair of the White Plains Democratic City Committee, detailed page-by-page, line-by-line Specifications of Objections were filed on July 14.
The Westchester Board of Elections is tasked with going over all the objections and making rules on each of them to determine whether there are enough valid signatures to qualify the candidates.
“The Board will rule only on issues that can be resolved based on inspection of the petition itself and the Board’s own records (for example, as to whether signers or witnesses are registered Democrats and whether a signer lives in the relevant district). The Board will not rule on issues that require the taking of evidence, such as fraud, which we have alleged. Such issues have to be decided by a court after considering evidence, usually including testimony,” James explained.
Everyone is expected back in Court today, Tuesday, Aug. 8, when the Board is expected to have finished reviewing and ruling on the objections brought before it by the Roach slate.
Lecuona had filed with the court on July 25, asking for an outright dismissal of the claims that her slate’s petition signatures were invalid, but Judge Ecker in Westchester County Supreme Court, denied the request for an outright dismissal and Lecuona’s petition witnesses have been subpoenaed.
The line-by-line challenges, identified as irregularities include wrong city, wrong county, wrong address, one-third do not live in White Plains, not members of Democratic Party, etc. In many cases, the signees did not spell out White Plains, rather using the initials WP or misspelled the city name.
According to New York State election law, each line must be filled out completely with the correct information by each valid signee; missing information cannot be written in later by a third party.
Part of the challenge also includes changes on cover sheets and the submission of two separate sets of petitions, which lawyers for both parties are fighting over the legitimacy of.
Because many of the lines indicated the signer might have trouble with the English language, Lecuona has called the challenge an outrage to the Hispanic community, which has come out to support her candidacy in large numbers.