Eugene Myrick, the political Little Engine That Could, couldn’t hold back the rampaging locomotive known as the Marty Markowitz for Borough President campaign Monday as he was booted off the ballot for lack of legitimate signatures.
During a Board of Elections hearing, an audit of the 9.928 petition signatures Myrick submitted showed that only 2,637 of the signatures were valid. The remainder were declared invalid after they were found to be from non-Brooklyn residents or non-registered Democrats.
Myrick needed 4,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.
The borough president filed over 78,000 signatures of registered Democrats, dropping what was tantamount to an atom bomb when it comes to petitions.
Former Brooklyn Heights State Senator Martin Connor, an election lawyer by trade, helped lower the boom on Myrick’s campaign by representing Markowitz supporters challenging his petitions. Challengers included Deborah S. Kresh-Garcia, the director of the Borough President’s Seaside Summer Concert Series.
Connor said that not only did Myrick file thousands of invalid signatures, but the petition volumes were bulked up with blank pages.
“Out of the 4,477 sheets in the 20 volumes that Mr. Myrick filed, only 1,201 of them had signatures,” he said.
“[The volumes] were filled with blank sheets and I ask this board to reject this kind of filing in the future,” he said.
Myrick was given the opportunity to challenge the findings of the Board of Elections audit, but the East New York resident said that he was unprepared to do so.
The flawed signatures and the black sheets were the product of some “assistance” Myrick received while he collected signatures, he said.
Mayoral Democratic candidate Jimmy McMillan agreed to put Myrick’s name on his petitions. When the signatures McMillan collected were deemed invalid, Myrick’s numbers took a huge hit.
“When I announced I was running, tons of people offered their assistance,” Myrick told the board. “What was I to do? Turn them down?”
Myrick also found it unfair that he had to defend himself against Connor.
“I’m a first-time candidate...I don’t know all the rules,” he said. “And here I am going up against the guy who wrote the rules,” he said, adding that he had one night to serve legal papers orders to five people in the Markowitz campaign to defend his case.
One of them was Markowitz himself, who, despite his high profile, couldn’t be located in time, Myrick alleged.
“I don’t know where he was,” Myrick said. “[Markowitz] is usually out eating cheesecake somewhere, but when I went to serve him this order to show cause, he was nowhere to be found.”
Myrick said that he is still researching options to get back on the ballot.
“Even if I get on the ballot on September 14, I’m going to get on,” he said.
With Myrick currently off the ballot, Markowitz has no challenger for the September 15 primary. He will then face Republican challenger Marc D’Ottavio in November.
©2009 Community News Group
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