A voter that signed nominating petitions for multiple mayoral candidates should have all of their petitions voided, argued an attorney in the mayor Andre Sayegh-linked case objecting to councilman Alex Mendez’s nomination.
“It is about the fact that an individual voter, who is qualified, cannot, as a matter of law, sign more than one mayoral petition. If they do their name is stricken from all petitions,” said attorney Raj Parikh of Genova Burns, which is representing Sayegh supporter Vincent Iannaccone, during a court appearance on Friday.
For years, the City Clerk counted one petition from a voter that signed petitions for multiple mayoral candidates. The mayoral candidate that turned in the petitions first secured that voter’s signed petition. Candidates that submitted later could not claim that voter’s signed petition because it was already counted towards the first submitter’s candidacy.
Mendez’s attorney Matthew Moench plans to oppose Parikh’s argument.
Mendez has a large batch of petitions that were signed by voters that signed petitions for multiple candidates.
Parikh has argued more than 150 petitions filed by Mendez are invalid. He has to prove to the court there are enough invalid petitions in the pool of 963 signatures submitted by Mendez to bring the councilman’s total valid petition number below 867.
A mayoral candidate needs 867 petitions to get on the May 10 ballot. Mendez’s petitions were verified and certified by the City Clerk. But Sayegh supporter Iannaccone filed a challenge objecting to Mendez’s petitions. The City Clerk rejected the objections which resulted in the court case.
Passaic County judge Thomas Brogan issued an order that halted ballot printing in the mayoral race.
Sayegh’s supporters are also trying to disqualify former councilman Aslon Goow from getting on the ballot. They argue Goow lives in West Milford and not Paterson. Goow has denied the allegations by showing his driver’s license and other proofs that show he lives in Paterson.
Brogan on Friday said he is trying to expeditiously handle both cases. He set a hearing date for the Mendez case on April 7 and the Goow case on April 11.
Goow and Mendez said Sayegh is “desperate” and is trying to use the court system to eliminate opponents rather than face them in an election. Sayegh, Goow, Mendez, council members Michael Jackson and Luis Velez are the five people running for the city’s highest office.