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District One City Council Race: Law & Order

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Tomorrow, NYC's Board of Elections is expected to hear an appeal from lawyers representing City Councilman Alan Gerson, who was disqualified from participating in the September Primary last week. But the Gerson campaign is not waiting for the board to reverse its ruling. Yesterday, they went before State Supreme Court Judge Edward Lehner.  Gerson is suing the Elections Board to get back on the ballot. In turn, challenger Pete Gleason is suing Gerson, in hopes of keeping that from happening.

The source of the problem was a cover sheet submitted along with a bundle of petitions that listed Gerson's address incorrectly. The Board says it knocked Gerson off the ballot because his campaign's effort to correct the error was "insufficient." Ray Dowd, Gleason's attorney, contends that Gerson tried to fix the mistake himself (rather than dispatching a representative), and, in so doing, committed fraud. 

Judge Lehner asked, half jokingly, "are we still doing cover sheets in this day and age?… Is that all this comes down to?" The judge said he would obviously "follow the law" but that he wasn't throwing anyone off the ballot for a cover sheet issue. A referee is now working through the factual differences between the two sides – we're told Gerson testified before that referee today. They'll be back in court a week from tomorrow to argue the legal merits of the case. Meanwhile, we'll be on hand tomorrow to see if the Board of Elections is inclined to reverse its ruling.

Gerson vs. Gleason vs. the Board of Elections is not the only legal dispute in the District 1 race. Candidate Margaret Chin is suing rival PJ Kim. The judge also sent that case to a referee. PolitickerNY.com has more on that situation.

Finally, another candidate, Arthur Gregory, is now going through his petitions, verifying addresses. This is a result of a complaint filed by Gleason with the Elections Board.

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