Voters get no choice as Sundwall removed from ballot on "technicality"

For Immediate Release Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Board of Elections voted Wednesday to remove Libertarian congressional candidate Eric Sundwall from the ballot in the March 31 special election to fill the vacant 20th congressional district seat, citing a technicality that voided many of Sundwall’s ballot access petition signatures.

The Sundwall campaign will not pursue legal efforts to remain on the ballot. Campaign manager Richard Cooper issued the following statement:

“Instead of campaigning, we have been forced to have Eric Sundwall spend time and money in court. We will not continue legal efforts to remain on the ballot. We are dismayed that the people of the 20th Congressional District will not have the opportunity to vote for Eric Sundwall due to a technicality that hinges on what town or city the voter or witness lives in as opposed to their community of residence.”

According to the Albany Times Union, the petitions were not technically correct because many voters listed their mailing address instead of their town, for example. Sundwall needed 3,500 valid signatures to gain a spot on the ballot next Tuesday. The Times Union reports he collected 6,730, but the ruling today leaves him short by 556.

Douglas Kellner, co-chairman of the Board of Elections, told the Poughkeepsie Journal the issue was purely a legal matter. ‘I think some of us actually agree with you that it’s not fair … when legitimate voters are knocked out because of legal technicalities,’ he said.

Board member Evelyn Aquila said it is time to change the laws.

“I’ve always felt if you receive mail at the address (used on the petition) it should be good enough for us,” Aquila told the Times Union. “I will vote the way I’m supposed to, but it is time to correct this.”

Military personnel registered to vote in the district have already received ballots with Sundwall’s name. Their votes for Sundwall will be voided and they will not be allowed to vote again.

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