By Mark Hallum
A hearing at the Manhattan office of the city Board of Elections Tuesday found objections to state Sen. Toby Stavisky’s (D-Flushing) campaign petitions to be insufficient to knock the incumbent off the ballot for the upcoming election.
The challenges raised by her Democratic opponent, S.J. Jung, and other residents within the district, claimed the signatures to qualify her for re-election were illegible or had addresses outside of the district, leaving only 13 out of 3,519 valid. Commissioners from the BOE, however, determined there were 2,243 valid signatures, which met the minimum of 1,000 required for Stavisky to make it on the ballot.
The 16th Senate district runs through Flushing west to Woodside and east to Glen Oaks.
The attorney representing Jung’s campaign stood before the BOE commissioners and stated he believed all the Stavisky signatures deemed valid by the city agency were incorrectly designated to which the commissioners reacted with confusion.
“Just saying that you’re challenging this ruling, you have to provide some information as to what this erroneous determination was,” one board member at the hearing responded.
The Jung campaign marked signatures which they contended had illegible addresses, many of which the BOE had tracked down to the individual and verified the information with the signature. One BOE member maintained that since the board was able to give credence to the signature by contracting the signer and the attorney was not able to do this, then the board’s ruling would be final.
Jung’s attorney argued that he had not been given enough time to work on checking the signatures approved by the board because they had only received the worksheet to do so the day before. Queens BOE Commissioner Jose Miguel Araujo had evidence in front of him showing that the worksheet was faxed on Friday, July 29.
Jung held a news conference outside the city Board of Elections office in Kew Gardens Friday to call upon the commissioners to come to a fair conclusion on the objections to Stavisky’s petitions. The board, however, was steady in its determination that the number of the petition signatures Stavisky had filed were beyond the valid number and that the seven-time re-elected incumbent would remain a candidate for her district.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall