Why do we continue to have elections on Long Island wherein the number of signatures on a candidate’s petition can be challenged or questioned by the opposition in hopes of keeping that candidate off the ballot? This is divisive behavior that undermines our basic right and freedom to vote for the candidates of our choice.
The latest case of such below-the-belt politics comes from congressional contender Jon Kaiman, who has asked the state Board of Elections to throw opponent Thomas Suozzi off the Democratic primary ballot in the Third District. Kaiman claims more than half the petition signatures submitted by the Suozzi campaign are not valid. Who says, and how are they invalid? We are talking about some 1,256 signatures of 2,417 submitted. This is 89 short of the required 1,250. “The law is clear,” Kaiman’s campaign claims. “Suozzi is not eligible to run for Congress.”
To remove front-runner Suozzi from the ballot would be absurd. The election law must be adjusted to avoid this kind of chicanery. Why not disavow the purpose of petitions altogether? The current system only serves to give the more established and resourceful candidates an undue advantage. In the case of Mr. Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, the question is how did his campaign somehow miscount or misjudge the petition signatures, if indeed they did so.