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City Council Candidate Margaret Chin Sues Rival, Elections Board

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The District 1 City Council race is taking more twists and turns this morning. Once again, there is controversy surrounding the petitions candidates must submit to the city's Board of Elections to get on the ballot. Candidate PJ Kim tells The Lo-Down he is being sued by another candidate in the race, Margaret Chin. According to the Downtown Express, two initial complaints filed with the Board of Elections against Kim's petitions, by individuals with ties to Chin's campaign manager, were dropped. But now, Kim says he was served with court papers Wednesday evening, while attending a "meet the candidate" event at a supporter's home. A check of the New York State Supreme Court's online records confirms that Chin has, in fact, filed suit against Kim and the Board of Elections.

A statement from Kim's campaign theorizes that Chin may have decided to mount the legal challenge after incumbent City Council candidate Alan Gerson was knocked off the ballot due to a technical error because she is "worried by the changing calculus of this race." Gerson is appealing the decision before the Elections Board next Wednesday.  The election rules specify that signatures candidates gather must come from registered voters who live in the district. Supporters of other candidates have alleged that Kim's petitions contain a large number of signatures from outside the district, and are therefore invalid. Another Gerson challenger, Arthur Gregory, also faces a petition challenge – we'll have more on that later today.

Meanwhile, the Downtown Express wades into a discussion that has been percolating online regarding Kim's political past. When Kim was 17, he interned for Republican Bill Frist, the senator from his home state of Tennessee. In 2001, he registered as a Republican in New York. But the newspaper notes he has volunteered for numerous Democratic candidates, including Howard Dean, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.When he moved to Massachusetts to attend Harvard, Kim registered as a Democrat and, when he returned to New York, he changed his registration here. Kim, who's 30 years old, told us how his political perspective has changed in the last decade:

…more life experience, particularly living in New York City after growing up in Tennessee and Louisiana, and my continuing education and exposure have shaped my views about social justice and market failure, balancing equity and efficiency, and the value of inclusiveness over divisiveness – all values that I am proud to advance as a volunteer on numerous campaigns, as a social entrepreneur who has worked in both business and the nonprofit sector, and now, as a candidate for City Council.

There are five candidates running in the 1st District, including Gerson, Chin, Kim, Pete Gleason and Arthur Gregory. We have reached out to Chin's campaign and the Elections Board. More later.

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  1. PJ Kim has been a Republican since 2006. If he campaigned for all these progressive candidates, why wait to switch his party enrollment until 2006. So that means in 2000 and 2004 he was enrolled in the same party as George W. Bush while he was campaigning for Democrats. That does not pass the smell test for me.

  2. Read the article. he moved to massachusetts to go to the kennedy school of government and business school at harvard and he registered to vote there for democrats and volunteered for dean and kerry. when you leave a state you don’t cancel your old registration so new york had him on its books with his first registration in 2001 out of college as if he’d never left. but like the article says a lot changed for him when he left Tennessee and started working in the real world in new york. i think his work helping low income families speaks more volumes than how long he was technically registered in a particular political party.

  3. Hate to sound repetitive, but the statement Gerson “was knocked off due to a technical error” keeps being repeated. An untruth oft repeated tends to become believed.
    It was no ‘technical’ error: Gerson’s campaign willfully and deliberately altered a signed and witnessed sworn government document. The questioned is then raised, “If he cheated here, where else may he have cheated”?
    deBlasio’s typo of listing 132 volumes instead of 133 was indeed a technical error.
    Initially, Gerson’s error was likewise technical: a misprinted address.
    However, Gerson corrected his petitions not by using the several common and legal methods available. That would have taken time, money and effort.
    Instead, his campaign crossed out the incorrect address and substituted the correct address – without the knowledge or permission of the subscribing witness. Some would call that fraud.
    The other candidates are being challenged by their fellow candidates for not having the legal number of valid signatures – as well they should. It is simply not fair for some candidates to observe the process the correct way and get the needed valid signatures, while other candidates think that they can lay back, not work to get the signatures, skirt the law and then cry for pity from people who have never suffered the indignity, scorn and hardship of collecting signatures from people on the street.
    Gerson, on the other hand, was not challenged by an opponent on a technicality or insufficient signatures, as his hired gun and campaign contributor George Artz spins.
    Gerson faces a more serious challenge from the Board of Elections ITSELF, because his error was Fatal and then the error was compounded by his illegally correcting the initial error. The Board of Elections is mandated to observe the laws of New York State. It has fulfilled its duty in this case.
    That is why this will end up in the Courts. It is a serious LEGAL issue, not a ‘technical’ issue.

  4. Gerson’s petitions are not just technical printing errors buy they started off as technical printing errors. However multiple botched “corrections” were attempted during which ballot fraud occurred. Several of the cover sheets were mutilated and have fraudulent correction initials on them.

  5. It is illegal to be registered to vote in 2 states. You can cancel one’s registration in the former state when you move to another state. Interested that he fights poverty and world hunger while competing annually at the hot dog competition at Nathans in Coney Island each year. What great judgment.

  6. If Margaret Chin wins the race, I certainly hope she doesn’t take her campaign managers advice and use the ‘N’ word during her acceptance speech. Chin should fire her campaign manager for this http://bit.ly/SJISQ

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