A four-person race for the hearts and minds of voters in the 46th Council District was hacked in half during a petition challenge marathon conducted by the Board of Elections Monday.
Within a few short hours, Ayo O. Johnson’s and Elias J. Weir’s hopes of getting on the ballot were dashed for not having the required 900 petition signatures from registered Democrats in the district. The 46th District, currently represented by incumbent Lew Fidler, encompasses a wide swath of southern Brooklyn that includes Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Georgetowne, Starrett City, Flatlands, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Gerritsen Beach and Sheepshead Bay.
A third challenger looking to unseat Fidler managed to cling onto the ballot — but his grip was slipping fast.
While Board of Elections officials determined that Alan J. Sasson was “light 31 signatures” to get on the ballot, the Haring Street candidate said that he was never given a report on their findings.
The Board of Elections gave Sasson 24 hours, as well as opened their offices to him to review -- and dispute, if possible -- the results the Board of Elections’ line-by-line evaluation of his petitions.
“We’re going to give you some time,” said Board of Elections President Frederick Umane.
As this paper went to press, the hearing had been postponed until Wednesday.
But qualified signatures may not be all Sasson has to worry about.
At Monday’s hearing, attorney Carl Landicino, who is representing Fidler supporters challenging Sasson’s petitions, provided the Board with copies of what he saw as questionable -- and possibly fraudulent -- signatures.
Landicino said that at least 30 consecutive lines of signatures -- while each of the names were different -- looked as if they were written by the same person.
“[These signatures] are quite telling,” Landicino told the Board. “We’re not asking you to look for fraud, but it’s very common-sensical. You can see very clearly that two of the signatures are the same, but when they’re compared [to the original voter registration cards], one is not.”
Fidler personally handed Landicino the copies of the questionable signatures, which were given to the board to evaluate.
Fidler wouldn’t comment on the prospect of having no challengers for the September 15 primary because the Board hadn’t rendered their decision.
Calls to Landicino, who also happens to be the attorney for the Kings County Democratic Party, and Sasson were not returned as this paper went to press.
©2009 Community News Group
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