At a Jan. 28 Board of Election Commissioners meeting, the agency ruled four candidates off the ballot for the March 24 borough president special election.
Among them is retired NYPD Sergeant Anthony Miranda, a candidate who stood out in the field after submitting about 9,000 petition signatures and raising about $40,000 over the past six months.
Danniel S. Maio and Everly D. Brown were also ruled off the ballot for complications with large swathes of signatures that left them without the requisite amount. Jusinta Jaggassar-Ernul was ruled off for not hitting the threshold of petition signatures — which is set at 2,000 — at the time of filing.
Out of the four candidates who were kicked off the ballot, the BOE indicated that Miranda stands the best chance to challenge his removal. During the hearing, one of the commissioners noted that Miranda would be able to fight it in appellate court if he so chose.
Miranda’s campaign manager Virginia Ramos Rios said that he was removed because of a technicality with his cover sheet, adding that Miranda’s campaign lawyer Angel Cruz had gone to the Supreme Court to file an appeal Wednesday morning.
The ruling said that Miranda did not explicitly authorize Cruz, his campaign lawyer, to drop off an amended cover sheet for his application to get on the ballot on Jan. 14.
Cruz told Ramos Rios that the case law does not support kicking a candidate off the ballot for this sort of situation. The authorization is meant to stop people unaffiliated with the campaign from filing an amended cover sheet.
In response to the news, Miranda sent out a fiery press release accusing the BOE as acting out the whims of Gerald Sweeney, Michael Reich and Frank Bolz, the law firm that has garnered a reputation as being synonymous with the Democratic Machine.
“The actions of the law firm Sweeney, Reich and Bolz and the Queens Democratic Party are systemic of the continued disenfranchisement of the Queens communities of color and Queens voters in general,” Miranda said in a statement. “The Queens Machine removed an Asian-American, African-American, and is attempting to remove the only Latino candidate to run for Queens borough president in the past 126 years. Queens voters should be alarmed and more motivated than ever to fight against discrimination and the suppression of their opportunities to vote.”
Despite being the object of Miranda’s anger, neither Michael Reich, Gerard Sweeney or Frank Bolz were the ones who objected to his petitions. At the meeting, it was noted that a Board of Elections staff member raised the problem with his cover sheet.
On the other hand, Reich was present at the meeting on behalf of his colleague Bolz, in order to object to Everly D. Brown’s application. Reich pointed out that Brown’s cover sheet was invalid because it cited the wrong number of stacks of petitions. In addition to this problem, the BOE found large swathes of invalid signatures, leaving him without the requisite amount.
At the meeting Brown and delivered his own indictment of Reich, arguing that his role as executive director the Queens Democratic Party was a conflict of interest with his role as a lawyer.
His protests did not stop the board from voting to remove him from the ballot. Councilman Costa Constantindes, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, former Queens prosecutor James Quinn, Councilman Donovan Richards and Flushing businessman Dao Yin will all go on to appear on the ballot.