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Bid to put Brown on November ballot is turned down by Board of Elections

Erie County Board of Elections rules on Brown petitions
Michael Mroziak, WBFO News
Seated at the table are, left to right, Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner and Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr.

The Erie County Board of Elections ruled Friday afternoon that the petitions seeking to put Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on the November ballot on an alternative party line were filed beyond the deadline, and thus are invalid.

Brown, who is seeking his fifth term, was upset in the Democratic primary by India Walton in June. He remains in the race as a write-in candidate, but his supporters sought to put his name back on the ballot through a new party line.

“We can’t ignore the filing deadline dates, and I think it was brought up, and it is true. If anybody could file any set of documents whenever they wanted to outside of the time frames, it would really create chaos for elections in Erie County,” said Republican elections commissioner Ralph Mohr, who along with his Democratic counterpart Jeremy Zellner rejected the petitions.

Zellner said little during the hearing. He is not only the Democratic elections commissioner but also the chair of the Erie County Democratic Committee, which formally endorsed Walton the previous evening.

Objections were filed by Walton's campaign, as well as by one of her supporters. Buffalo resident Joan Simmons says if a candidate could get back on the ballot after losing a primary, what's the whole point of the primary?

"It is my firm belief that validating Mayor Brown's independent nominating petitions would in effect nullify, invalidate my vote and violate my constitutional rights to vote, and have my vote accurately counted," she said. "I believe it would also nullify the New York State Voters' Bill of Rights."

Attorney Jerry Goldfeder argued that the board has no jurisdiction over sustaining objections to the petition.

The Brown campaign is expected next to head to court.