Breaking News, Brooklyn: Eugene and Schiffman sole candidates for 40th District

[Updated 2007.04.12 10:00: Added excerpts from and link to article from Hard Beat News.]
[Updated 2007.04.11 22:20: Added link to Board of Elections official Candidates List.]

April 11

In a tantalizingly brief notice, The Politicker observed less than two hours ago:
Mathieu Eugene and Harry Schiffman are the only candidates on the ballot for the April 24 special election in Brooklyn, a Board of Elections spokeswoman told me.
More later when I learn more.

April 12

This morning, HardBeatNews - "Daily Carribean Diaspora News" - carries the story:
The new election was set to be contested by [Mathieu] Eugene, [Harry] Schiffman, Jamaican Wellington Sharpe and two other Haitian candidates, Gina Faustin and Darly Brutus. But Eugene and his side challenged the candidates based on residency, voter registration and eligibility.
While Eugene did not contest the BOE clerk’s report, which placed Schiffman, the lone Jewish candidate on the ballot, he challenged each of Sharpe’s 1,727 signatures. This led to strong objections from Sharpe’s lawyers and testy arguments between the representatives.

Although some commissioners expressed concern that registered voters on Sharpe’s petition were being discounted, the clerk’s report on to Sharpe’s petition was amended from 812 valid signatures to 832, omitting over one hundred of Sharpe’s signatures which his campaign submitted as valid, causing him to fall short of the 1,002 needed to be on the ballot.

This outraged Sharpe representatives who vehemently argued that under the law every signature of registered voters who reside in the District is valid. Rickford Burke, Sharpe’s campaign manager, argued to Commissioners that once the Board has determined that a petition signer is registered to vote in the District, whether they signed the address at which they are registered or another addressed in the District, the signature is valid according to case law. This argument was supported by Steve Richmond, Counsel to the Commission as well as some Commissioners, leading to confusion among the Commission.

The Commission subsequently rejected the clerk’s report. But after realizing that this action automatically placed Sharpe on the ballot, the Commission reversed itself and allowed the clerk’s report as amended to stand, throwing the matter to the Supreme Court for resolution.
Their wording of this last paragraph is interesting. They imply that the Commission ignored their legal Counsel and reversed their decision in order to deny Sharpe a place on the ballot.

This reportage is marred, to my eye, by tagging it with the God-baiting headline "Could Brooklyn’s 40th District Drama End With A Jewish Councilman?". In a previous article on this issue, they refer to him as "Jewish-born Brooklyn resident, Harry Schiffman." (They don't specify the geographic boundaries of "Jewia".) This morning's article is also accompanied by the most unflattering photo of candidate Schiffman I've seen yet; he looks like someone just woke him up from a long train ride.

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