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137 ≠ 137

  • Neighbor: How many signatures do you have to collect?

  • Me: 137

  • Neighbor: How many do you have so far?

  • Me: 149

  • Neighbor: Oh, so you're done then right?

  • Me: I'm afraid not

I've had this discussion at least a half dozen times over the last 2 weeks. 137 is indeed the number of signatures that the Westchester County Board of Elections requires me to get as a Republican candidate here in the Town of Bedford in order for my name to appear on the ballot come November. This number represents 5% of Republican voters in Bedford who turned out during the last gubernatorial election. My friends across the aisle have to collect almost 2x this number (263) because Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2:1 here in Bedford.

And I expect them to do just that. As long as they collect the required 263 - you won't hear word one from me. But I suspect that doesn't work both ways...

Just last year, the Bedford Democratic Committee inundated the Board of Elections with objections to what the Bedford GOP turned in for their candidate Peter Michaelis. They spent what I imagine to be a significant amount of time going through each and every signature, attempting to knock him off the ballot - presumably so that their candidate could run completely unopposed. And they challenged 31 of the 171 signatures collected in order to get just below the 142 that were required, citing everything from penmanship to address syntax, and even contested - albeit unsuccessfully - the name of the office (Council Member vs Town Board Member). I am a supporter of rules and standards, but this is just ticky tacky...

I can promise you that I will never challenge any signatures submitted. If it were up to me, I'd remove as many barriers as possible in order to get more people on the ballot because voters deserve a choice! We live in a democracy and I say - let the people decide who they want representing them, not a team of partisan bureaucrats hellbent on creating hurdles and barriers to do just the opposite.

So I'll be out and about all weekend long collecting as many signatures as possible in order to fend off their eventual (and petty) challenge. And if you have not yet signed, feel free to drop me a note and I'll make my way to your door!

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