Public Advocate Ballot Is Set For February!

Dropped Out

The ballot has been officially set for the upcoming special election for the Public Advocate’s race, and already there is bickering against the proposed ballot order.

CM and Public Advocate Candidate Rafael Espinal with a supporter. Photo by Kyle O’Leary.

Earlier today, the New York City Board of Elections’ (BOE) decided on a snake-like ballot placing for the February 26 special election, that includes Melissa Mark-Viverito at the top.

The ballot will read from Left to Right for the first line, then Right to Left for the second line and continue so on until the end. However, the untraditional order has many worried about voting day confusion, including candidate and City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, East New York), who claims the decision is illogical.

“The first row of candidates goes left to right in the order candidates filed petitions to get on the ballot, but the second row goes right to left, then the third row goes left to right again. The ballot positions snake down the page instead of being listed in a logical order. It makes no sense,” said Espinal.

Sample Ballot for Special Election in upcoming Pubic Advocate vote slated Feb 26.

According to an official with Espinal’s campaign, the order of the ballot was based on the first individuals to hand in their petitions to the BOE, which included Espinal coming in 7th, and City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), in 9th, respectively.

“We have an absurd outcome where the most prominent and advantageous ballot positions go to the candidates who filed first, second, eleventh, and twelfth. The Board of Elections may say they’ve done this before, but that’s not a good reason to keep doing it when it’s obviously not a good idea,” added Espinal.

Today was also the official day to challenge petitions that ended in Ifeoma Ike, Michael Zumbluskas, Daniel S. Maio, Helal Sheikh, Theo Chino all being thrown off the ballot. The challenges ended up dropping the field from 20 candidates to 15.

Of the remaining 15 candidates ten have officially qualified for the first of two televised debates in the race, scheduled for February 6. Candidates had till last week, when the latest campaign finance filing was due with the city Campaign Finance Board (CFB), to raise and spend at least $56,938, according to Gotham Gazette.

The ten candidates are former Mark-Viverito, Assemblymember Michael Blake, attorney Dawn Smalls, Williams, Assemblymember Ron Kim, Espinal, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, City Council Member Eric Ulrich, Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, and activist Nomiki Konst.

Additionally, all of the ten candidates are participating in the CFB’s public matching funds program, though there are two systems within the program they must choose from.

Candidates can opt in to one of two models — the old model that matches contributions up to $175 at a 6-to-1 ratio or the new model, which gives 8-to-1 matches for donations up to $250.

The matching funds are expected to be doled out this Thursday, Jan. 31. Of note, Mark-Viverito will be the only one going for the old matching funds program, while the rest will be vying for the new model.

Earlier today, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville) bowed out of the race due to a lack of meeting the requirements for matching funds. Walker raised $58,255 and spent $57,849. 

The special election is slated for Feb. 26. 

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