Front-running public advocate candidate Bill DeBlasio fought his way back onto the ballot at a hearing on Tuesday, convincing the famously Kafka-esque Board of Elections that the agency, and not his campaign, had caused the error that had knocked the Park Slope councilman off the ballot last week.
DeBlasio’s lawyers convinced the 10 Board of Elections commissioners that the original paperwork handed in by the campaign, which claimed to consist of 135 volumes of nominating signatures, was accurate, contrary to the board’s finding that three volumes were missing.
“It was a thunderous victory for democracy,” deadpanned DeBlasio’s lawyer, Stanley Schlein.
The “victory” seemed predetermined from the outset. After all, DeBlasio handed in roughly 117,000 more signatures than the 7,500 required for a spot of the Sept. 15 Democratic primary ballot against former public advocate Mark Green, civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel and Queens Councilman Eric Gioia.
Still, he had to argue before the board for his spot after officials knocked him off the ballot for the alleged discrepancy in the number of volumes that the campaign handed in.
DeBlasio’s lawyers presented evidence that all 135 volumes had been handed in, but that Board of Election staffers created the discrepancy by erroneously misnumbing three of the volumes.
The staffers should have told the campaign what those numbers were on the spot.
“Apparently, we didn’t necessarily do that at the time,” said Board of Elections President Frederic Umane, whose agency did not put up a fight against DeBlasio.
“It was unfair to the candidate,” Umane added.
Board of Elections critics frequently describe the agency’s rules as Byzantine in their intricacy.