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HighRiseSafetyNYC.org Sept. 29, 2014

Today We Filed Suit to Reverse the City’s Fraudulent Determination on Our Second Petition

Read our filing and letter to Justice Wooten.

Dear Supporters,

On September 4, 2014 the High-Rise Safety Initiative submitted a second petition containing over 33,000 signatures to override the City Council’s lack of action on our first petition. The second petition secures our place on the November 4th ballot if it contains at least 15,000 valid signatures, assuming we also win the pending lawsuit regarding the petition’s legality, where we still have not received a decision.

This past Wednesday, the City Clerk certified only 7,343 out of 33,366 signatures in the second petition as valid, leaving us 7,657 shy of the 15,000-threshold.

A Determination that Reeks of Fraud

Given the dramatic difference in the percentage of invalidated signatures, 57% on the first petition compared to 78% on the second petition, it was immediately apparent that the City Clerk and the Board of Elections had determined to wrongly invalidate thousands of signatures — and in so doing, disenfranchise thousands of voters — in order to keep the High-Rise Safety Initiative off the ballot.

Sure enough, when the City finally provided a copy of its notations, we saw that the percentage of signatures invalidated because the signer was allegedly “not registered” had skyrocketed from 43% on the first petition (28,404 out of 65,597) to 73% on the second petition (24,523 out of 33,366).

With the help of several volunteers, we then reviewed a sample of 663 signatures invalidated because the signer was allegedly “not registered.” We found that 43% were in fact registered voters; their signatures had been marked “not registered” without rhyme or reason. If that rate held for all 24,523 signatures marked “not registered,” it would mean that the City wrongly invalidated some 10,653 signatures, nearly one third of the people who signed the second petition, and it would put us well over the 15,000-threshold.

This Must Not Stand

Earlier today we filed suit to have the City’s fraudulent determination reversed and sent a letter to Justice Wooten, the judge presiding over our case, to advise him of the second suit. With only four days until the October 3rd cutoff to have ballot submissions finalized, there simply isn’t enough time for us, or the court, to review the City’s notations in their entirety. But the numbers already speak for themselves. As we will argue this week, there is surely enough evidence to conclude that the City did not review the petition objectively and in good faith, and its determination should therefore be annulled.

We will keep you posted as this issue and the lawsuit regarding the petition’s legality unfold this week. Once again, we thank you for your incredible support of our efforts.

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Independent journalist and funder of We Are Change, a grassroots media outlet.

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