Should We Appeal Jim Crow Injustice?
In justice, there is injustice.
What happened in Court to our campaign for Comptroller was an injustice.
Before we get to the question of what we will do next, let us add to what you may have read in the Journal News about the situation.
As many of you know, we needed only 300 signatures and submitted over 1,000 signatures to get on the June 22 ballot. Objections were filed challenging the validity of those who signed the petition for Richard Thomas for Mount Vernon Comptroller. Unsurprisingly, the Board of Elections sustained most of the objections to knock us off the ballot.
We knew this was going to happen… which is why we sought relief in Court; however, we did NOT expect the Court to rule in our favor on Monday and then renege on their ruling on Wednesday.
What happened in between?
As reported in the Journal News, on Monday, April 19, Judge Mary Smith – on the record – reached the conclusion that it was impossible for our campaign to have gotten the specific information from the Board of Elections in time to prepare and defend our case to get on the ballot.
She noted that the Board of Elections gave us a ruling on Friday, April 16th at 9:00 PM - after normal business hours.
She acknowledged that while the BOE was closed over the weekend, we still had to have our case ready to go on Monday morning.
Before ending Court on Monday, Judge Smith drove the discussion and reached a stipulated agreement between our campaign, the Board of Elections, and Counsel to the Objectors that we would focus our attention on “specific issues” within the BOE’s ruling when trial resumed on Wednesday.
At the time, we only needed to prove that 23 signatures were in fact correct. We ultimately agreed that at trial on Wednesday we would revisit approximately 168 signatures that we viewed as problematic.
There were 91 signatures that were rejected by the BOE for being “Printed / Not Signed.”
Another 77 signatures were rejected for “Not Enrolled / Not Active.” (We will come back to this.)
Upon entering Court on Wednesday, the proverbial goal post moved as the amount of signatures needed to get back on the ballot increased to 30.
We told Judge Smith that was not a problem because we assembled 48 Democrats out of the 91 that were rejected for having “Printed / Not Signed” their name to testify that their signature was their signature on our petition for City Comptroller – essentially proving our case.
Judge Mary Smith replied, “No. I am not hearing it.”
Our attorneys did their best to politely remind the Judge that she asked for the “specific evidence” and were ready to give her the “specific evidence.” We were ready to present the people - the Democrats - who signed the petition.
In reply, Judge Mary Smith grew agitated and said, “I do not care who becomes Comptroller in Mount Vernon. I do not live in Mount Vernon and I do not care about Mount Vernon.”
Our recollection is that she then went on to say that she heard there was a motion to dismiss the case, that is, prior to the opposing Counsel making it known on the record that he had a motion to dismiss.
Here we go again with the “Fix” being in.
Our attorneys believe that Judge Smith made numerous procedural errors. The witnesses who showed up in Court too believe that the Judge made mistakes and "feel it is absurd." Yet the laws governing our appeal of Judge Smith’s decision may not provide room to address the merits of the case.
In less than 12 hours, we raised over $30,000 to appeal the decision.
We cannot enter this fight halfcocked.
We ask because if we win the first appeal, our case will likely go back to the same Judge that professed she “does not care about Mount Vernon.”
If that happens, we are likely to be mistreated again and then we will have to appeal her decision again.
“Now the third branch is the judicial, that’s judges. They the reason why John Crawford and Trayvon had justice. So when Meek Mill got locked up for popping wheelies we blame the judge and not the city, when they let her get voted in. Cause they know who to vote against,” said YelloPain in his hit song, “My Vote Don’t Count.”
We know an injustice occurred.
Following the news, Hon. Richard Thomas has spoken to dozens of loyal supporters who believe in his vision of a diverse and beautiful Mount Vernon.
It is our opinion that the Judge’s comment about “not caring about Mount Vernon” validates former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s finding of institutional racism throughout New York's Court System.
Many like to chastise Republicans for “Voter Suppression” or criticize them for pushing “Voter ID” laws; however, we cannot deny that a select few Mount Vernon Democrats are using the same “Jim Crow” tactics to disenfranchise Mount Vernon Democrats from voting.
We LOVE and THANK our loyal volunteers who are family in the Thomas Nation!
We THANK them for risking their lives to gather over 1,000 signatures during a global pandemic!
We WARNED everyone that this could happen like it did before. (For more, see the section on 2019 Mount Vernon voter purge and irregularities here.) This is partly why it is hard to trust the political system.
The old Political Boss at the Board of Elections hates the new democratic ideas we represent.
Only the Board of Elections can determine the status of whether a Democrat signing our petition is “eligible” or “ineligible” to sign. The Political Boss can deem you ineligible if you did not vote in the last Federal election. Yet NO notice on eligibility is provided to that “disqualified” Democrat by the Board. Recall, we had about 77 valid Democrats invalidated on our petition for that reason. This is part of the trickery at work to “suppress the vote” and “block true leaders” from the ballot.
By statute, the Judicial process is supposed to allow for us to address any deficiencies in petitions; however, we were categorically, absolutely, unequivocally denied that opportunity since Judge Smith reneged on hearing the evidence – hearing from you – hearing from valid Democratic voters in Mount Vernon.
If you want us to keep fighting the good fight, we will.
We need your help to fight on.
Can you help us raise enough money to pay for a second appeal?
The goal is to raise another $30,000.
We will worry about having enough time to file the second appeal later.
Right now, the choice is up to you.
Are you in?
If so, please DONATE.
If so, CONTACT US to discuss other ways you can help.
If so, SHARE this message far and wide and urge action!
Thomas for Comptroller