Working Families Party star candidates Brad Lander for Comptroller, Jumaane Williams for re-election as Public Advocate and Tiffany Cabán have been knocked off the WFP ballot line for the June 22 primary, PoliticsNY has learned.
In fact, not a single candidate that the WFP endorsed made it onto the party’s ballot line due to a technicality stemming from different interpretations of an executive order issued because of the pandemic, said sources close to the WFP, which prides itself on its organized electioneering.
Seventeen of the 29 candidates endorsed by the WFP petitioned for a spot on the party’s ballot line in the June primaries, according to the Board of Elections (BOE) Record of Designating Petitions Filed.
The disqualification stems from different interpretations of an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March last year, said the sources. The order authorizes notary publics to notarize documents remotely. It also allows for the use of electronic signatures on records allowed under the Electronic Signatures and Records Act.
The candidate petitions were disqualified by the board because the WFP used electronic signatures on a notarized form required by candidates trying to run on the ballot line of a party for which they aren’t a registered member. The form, called a Wilson Pakula, is submitted to the BOE by the party and authorizes the candidates to run on their ballot line.
“Any WFP candidate that has language on the ledger next to them and their name crossed out was removed from the ballot at the Boards hearings last Tuesday,” said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vázquez when asked about the disqualifications.
She declined to comment on the WFP’s use of electronic signatures.
WFP spokesperson Ravi Mangla defended the party’s use of electronic signatures.
“We signed and notarized our documents to the letter of the law and our Working Families candidates should not be punished for that,” said Mangla.
Sources familiar with the petitioning process said that WFP used electronic signatures successfully for last year’s elections. But this year, their candidates are being challenged and kicked off the ballot statewide because of the electronic signatures.
The 29 WFP-backed candidates included three for mayor – Scott Stringer, Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley –– none of which petitioned to be on the WFP ballot line. Instead, Deborah Axt from Make the Road NYC will be running unopposed on their mayoral ballot line as a placeholder.
PoliticsNY did not receive responses to requests for comment from Lander’s, Cabán’s and Williams’ campaigns.
Editor’s Note: This story was written using the WFP webpage that listed their endorsements. It has since come to our attention that their endorsement list online is incomplete and does not include three incumbents running for re-election. Of those incumbents, one went for the WFP ballot line, City Councilmember Justin Brannan. Brannan successfully made it onto the ballot because he did not need to be on Wilson Pakula form.