Buffalo Mayor Myron Brown doesn’t know when to quit. A Trump-appointed judge sided with Brown’s supporters in a recent federal court lawsuit demanding their candidate’s name appear on the November ballot. Local news reported that U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. ordered the Erie County Board of Elections to add Brown’s name to the general election ballot as an independent candidate despite the May deadline.
Sinatra determined it posed an undue burden on voters like the plaintiffs not to have their candidate on the ballot. Except Brown has already been on the ballot, and arguably his supporters had an opportunity to vote for him in the June Democratic primary.
After the surprising upset by India Walton in the June Primary, the four-term incumbent launched a write-in campaign. Walton received the official endorsement of the Erie County Democratic Party in late August. She announced her plans to appeal the decision.
Walton also challenged Sinatra’s impartiality in hearing the case. Reports indicate his brother financially supported Brown’s re-election bid. Sinatra did not see the donations as a reason to recuse himself.
As NewsOne reported in June, the Erie County Democratic official encouraged Brown to concede and unite with the party behind the nominee. Brown’s campaign also filed a lawsuit in state court claiming both the Democratic primary date and the filing deadline were too early. But it’s possible the old law would’ve prevented Brown from filing as an independent as well.
Before the changes, the Democratic primary was held in September, with the filing deadline for independent candidates 11-12 weeks before the November election, which would have been in August. Under the new law, an independent candidate is required to file in May.
Brown and supporters seem to be trying to pick and choose which parts of the law to follow, arguing for the August deadline despite the June primary. The new and old election laws had a filing deadline for independent candidates before the Democratic primary.
It’s questionable whether a “violation” of ballot access applies to a candidate who has complied with deadlines for ballot access for a party primary. Filings show Brown filed timely in March for the Democratic primary.
Brown assumed he would win re-election and had no problem complying with the filing deadline for the June primary. Potential candidates should have ballot access outside of the two-party political process. But that is different from losing candidates and their supporters being entitled to appear on a general election ballot.
Last week, the Erie County Board of Elections rejected Brown’s plea to be added to the ballot. The board basically found that granting Brown’s request could cause chaos in the election schedule.
Past results showed Brown received 3,000 more votes in the 2017 Democratic primary than he did this past June. Arguing that people didn’t have enough time to choose a candidate by June ignores the responsibility of candidates to turn out voters.
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