Letter to Editor: In Defense of Bongiorno

Dan Weisberg, GOP Candidate for Clarkstown Town Justice

Dear Editor,

My opponent opted to exercise his right to challenge my petitions, first with the Board of Elections and then to file in Supreme Court. There were 70 specific objections filed against the 150 signatures collected for the Independence line and 13 for the Working Families. I needed 125 and 11 respectively to appear on the ballot. It was clear in preparing to defend my petitions that errors were made, and many of these errors were ones that should have been caught before the petitions were submitted. But the folks working on my behalf are human volunteers, and humans make mistakes.

Even ex-district attorneys like Mike Bongiorno can make a mistake. As to the mean-spirited accusations about Mr. Bongiorno, he did nothing wrong and any news story claiming such is simply inaccurate. As Mr. Bongiorno was notarizing the Independence Party petition he was turning in, he noticed that the date he had written was illegible and he corrected it before signing above his notary stamp. The Board of Elections decided this change in date should work to deprive seven members (not nine as reported) of the Independence Party of the right to determine who their candidate should be. I am proud that a person of Mike Bongiorno’s stature would help me and he should be commended for his efforts in assuring that voters have a choice rather than vilified.

Other signatures were thrown out because the person who signed entered their full address, including city, state and zip code, but failed to fill in the Town column with the word Clarkstown. Again, a technical error that should have been caught, but another five signatures lost. Many of the other signatures thrown out occurred because people signed both my petition and my opponent’s, but signed my opponent’s first and neglected to apprise the person collecting on my behalf that they already signed a petition for another candidate. Looking at the signatures, it really is not clear that the same person signed both petitions, but the Board of Elections felt otherwise.

Other signatures were challenged based on minor errors made by the notaries signing as witnesses – either their registration number was unclear, or they left out the words notary public or their expiration date was not complete. The court did not invalidate any signatures based on these technical challenges.

Daniel Weisberg
Candidate for Town Justice
Town of Clarkstown