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July 24, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Election Coverage

DeBlasio off the ballot in bizarre bureaucratic bungle!

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The front-runner for the hotly contested public advocate race — Park Slope Councilman and ultimate political insider Bill DeBlasio — has been knocked off the ballot because of a technical error with his campaign petition signatures.

In the highly unusual decision against a major citywide candidate, the Board of Elections, known worldwide for rules so arcane that even seasoned candidates have trouble keeping up, rejected DeBlasio’s paperwork because the number of volumes of petitions that he handed in did not perfectly match the number of volumes that he SAID he was handing in.

The board instructed DeBlasio to make a recount — which he did, but his number on his cover sheet still did not match the number of volumes he actually handed in, the board said.

The difference in the end was one volume. But the board said a candidate gets only one chance to fix a miscount.

As a result, the astounding 125,000 signatures that DeBlasio’s campaign submitted, far more than the 7,500 required to get on the ballot, mean nothing. He is off the ballot — until next week, at least, when he can fight his way back on.

DeBlasio, who has successfully maneuvered the board’s Byzantine filing requirements in two runs for City Council and has worked extensively on the campaigns of others, said he expects to regain his place on the ballot during the appeal process — another of the board’s numerous complex procedures to ensure the sanctity of ballot access.

“We are entirely confident we can resolve this matter working with the Board of Elections. We don’t believe the law was intended to prevent a candidate with over 125,000 signatures from getting on the ballot because of a typo,” he said in a prepared statement.

The board’s decision, if unchanged, dramatically shakes up the race for public advocate, which includes former officeholder Mark Green, civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, Queens Councilman Eric Gioia.

In the wake of the Board of Elections’ ruling, even a Republican candidate for public advocate came to DeBlasio’s defense.

“News that Councilman Bill DeBlasio … was kicked off the ballot due to a technicality is further proof that our election laws must be changed in New York State,” said the candidate, Alex Zablocki. “The petition process, from beginning to end, is a lawyer’s dream. The rules are complicated and archaic and not only turn off potential candidates who want to run for office, but also prevent access to the ballot for candidates that have few resources.”

Updated 2:19 pm, July 24, 2009: Story was updated to add in a quote from a Republican.
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Reader Feedback

Anon from Park Slope says:
Good riddance to DeBlasio. Anyway to knock him off the public dole is good enough for those of us who have had no city council representation in his district in the 8 years he purports to have represented us. From his tacit support of Atlantic Yards (he is still studying it), and the Superfund for Gowanus (give it to developers and hope they clean it up), to supporting luxury condos inside Brooklyn Bridge Park, this guy is a LOSER and a complete FAKE. And as a matter of record his name is also not DeBlasio - he changed that when he got into politics. Ugh.
July 25, 2009, 1:03 pm
Mike from Carroll Gardens says:
Really? What was his name? If not true, then you should retract it.
July 26, 2009, 1:46 pm
anon from carroll gardens says:
Mike,
Warren Wilhelm, Jr. DeBlasio is Bill's mother's maiden name and he legally changed his name in 2002.

I thought it was common knowledge.
July 26, 2009, 5:27 pm
Kelly from Park Slope says:
Didn't DeBlasio run Hillary's Senate campaign? You'd think he would know all the arcane rules that are involved in NYC politics.... this is really a blunder for a guy in the know, whether you like him or not.
July 26, 2009, 8:56 pm
Family Guy from Carroll Gardens says:
Karma is ?

I agree with the earlier comments. This man has no integrity and certainly has made no strong commitment to support the communities he was elected to serve. How can he serve as public advocate?

Do not fret for Mr. Wilhelm, he will find his way. Just follow the money.
July 27, 2009, 12:07 am
Gennardo from Slope says:
The Jolly Green Giant aka DeBlasio is not the frontrunner in this race Mark Green is. Snap out of it Gersh.

What did you spend to much time at the coffee shops smoking ganga when you were on you junket to Holland!
July 27, 2009, 4:10 pm

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