Three reform Democrats have filed a show-cause order in New York Supreme Court to keep their names on the June 28th Democratic Primary Ballot for Village of Mamaroneck Trustee.
Lou Young, Leilani Yizar-Reid and Manny Rawlings were taken off the ballot Monday following “complex and arcane technical challenges” to their nominating petitions filed by members of the Village of Mamaroneck Democratic Committee, which is running its own “official” slate. If allowed to stand, the ruling by the Westchester County Board of Elections would allow the Committee to avoid a primary and would remove the only African Americans in the race from the Village ballot. Three of five trustee seats are open this election cycle.
The petition challenge, signed by village party functionaries Robert Stark and Greta Heaney, sought to disqualify all 387 signatures on the nominating ballots for Young, Yizar-Reid, and Rawlings. The Board of Elections denied most of the committee’s challenges but upheld 124 signature objections on mostly technical grounds like listing the office being sought as “Board of Trustees” instead of “Village Trustee.”
The ruling left the Young-Yizar-Reid-Rawlings ticket with 263 unimpeachable signatures, 13 short of the amount required by law. “We’ll be able to show a judge that the people who signed our petitions knew what they were signing and did so enthusiastically,” Lou Young said Thursday. “These voters should not be disenfranchised because of a cynical use of technicalities. In this primary election we are literally fighting Democrats who don’t believe in democracy.”
Leilani Yizar-Reid says the petition challenge indicates their opponents are afraid of facing the voters. “ I am very saddened by how the Democratic Committee has chosen to handle this whole situation. I am a registered Democrat in this community and when I humbly declined their endorsement, I was no longer accepted as a Democrat in Mamaroneck. Some members of the committee use it as a platform to pursue their own personal vendettas.” Running mate Lou Young was more direct: “Leilani and Manny were bold enough to run for office without agreeing to kiss the committee ring. This is an ugly attempt to ‘put them back in their place.’”
Manny Rawlings, the youngest of the three candidates (The campaign slogan is “Three generations, one village”) called on all trustee candidates from all parties to disavow the petition challenge as an attack on open democracy. “Candidates for public office should not be allowed to hide behind surrogates and hidden operatives. We desperately need transparency in this village and an end to cronyism.”
The case is scheduled to be heard Friday morning, May 6, before Hon. Lewis J. Lubell at the State Supreme Court in White Plains.