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Libertarian Sundwall faces petition challenge

The Schenectady (NY) Daily Gazette reports that there is an effort underway to force Eric Sundwall from the ballot in the March 31 special congressional election.

In what has come to be a standard major-party tactic, Sundwall’s petitions will face close scrutiny:

This week, opponents filed a motion in court and objections with the state Board of Elections to have him removed from the ballot.

Patricia Killian of Dutchess County, Donald Neddo of Waterford and Laurie Kelly Sickles of Ballston Spa on Monday filed an order to show cause with the state Supreme Court in Poughkeepsie.

Neddo and Sickles, both voters in the district, then filed line-by-line objections with the state Board of Elections on Tuesday to 6,362 of the estimated 6,717 signatures Sundwall obtained to get on the ballot.

Candidates who are not members of one of the two biggest parties are required by state law to secure 3,500 signatures of registered district voters to appear on the ballot for a congressional race.

But John Ciampoli, an Albany attorney representing Killian, Neddo and Sickles, said some of the signatures used wrong addresses, other signers live outside the district and some witness statements were done incorrectly.

For example, he said Sundwall submitted some petitions where signers were Albany residents.

“I would have to think that if you’re running for Congress, you know that the city of Albany isn’t in the 20th Congressional District,” he said.

Sundwall defended his petitions, saying that while there may be some errors, he believes that he still has enough valid signatures to remain on the ballot.

“This is more of a harassing tactic,” he said.

The opponents also object to Sundwall’s logo choice, on the grounds that it is ‘misleading’:

The people objecting to Sundwall’s petitions also make a case that he may have confused voters by using a Statue of Liberty logo on his petitions.

The motion contends that the Libertarian logo of the statue’s face and pointed crown is similar to the Conservative Party’s logo, which shows the statue’s torch.

“This is likely to cause confusion among the electorate,” the court motion states.

Sundwall said the logo argument is not new to the Libertarian Party.

“We’ve gone through this with these guys in the past, and we’ve won every time,” he said. “We’ve had our logo on our petitions since either the early ’70s or the late ’80s.”

The article also describes Sundwall’s struggles to be included in the debates:

Sundwall also is trying to get included in a candidate roundtable scheduled Thursday and sponsored by television station WMHT and the Times Union, as well as a debate Tuesday sponsored by WNYT and the Post-Star. He will face both Murphy and Tedisco in a debate March 26 sponsored by talk radio station WROW.

Sundwall’s website seems to indicate progress on the debate front.


  1. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    LaFollette was a republican. After TR’s movement collapsed by 1916 & he died in 1919, LaFollette was able to mount a progressive resurgence.

  2. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    If voting is rigged by diebold etc., that is a whole other problem. But if voting follows certain patterns which could be altered in favor of the lib or green, that is possible. Yes, Debs the socialist got 6%. That vote now goes to the democrat. It is part of the progressive vote.

  3. Nate Nate March 19, 2009

    Teddy was an ex-president with name recognition who took mostly only Republican votes. In a 50 year time frame around 1912 Democrats were fighting to get 40% of the popular vote. Woodrow Wilson won the election with 42%, I don’t think he lost many votes to Roosevelt.

    In addition this was a time when the Socialist candidate could pick up 6% of the vote, people were much more willing to vote on principal rather than the lesser of two evils, it’s hard to compare that time to now. Even if Roosevelt did succeed in taking the progressive vote then, would he have in today’s political climate?

    LaFollette in 1924 was probably more of a progressive candidate by today’s standards, had some name recognition, Republican ties that got him some votes from there, “stole” Democrat votes on some issues and still only managed 16% of the popular vote. He’s probably a much better indicator of progressive votes in America, albeit again, this was 1924 not 2009.

  4. libertariangirl libertariangirl March 19, 2009

    I did say they were going to lose because anyone can see that was going to happen , wht i didnt do is say to everyone if theyd only follow my plan then they would win .
    i find that obnoxious and untrue , cause no matter what they did they would lose .
    even if we had a’winning’ campaign the mechanisms by which we vote _ diebold etc – are controlled . so how do you overcome votesscam?

  5. libertariangirl libertariangirl March 19, 2009

    you can starve for victory w/o calling people losers.

  6. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    “…over-arrogant libs.” Libs starving for victory.

  7. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    Aren’t you the one in another comments said you knew from the getgo the green, libertarian, Constitution & Nader would lose? Sure, we all know Eric is going to lose. UNLESS he tries something different that just might win. TR got 27% of the vote in 1912. That is THE BEST presidential showing in the past 100 years for third party/independent. What did he do that got that? He was a republican who split the party about in half THEN reached out to the LEFT-to the Progressives & actually started the progressive Party. Eric must reach out to the left. He must get those votes instead of the democrat stealing them AGAIN. & there IS NO GREEN on the ballot to compete with him for them. Only the lousy democrat. SO, DECLARE Eric. You want those progressive votes? You must claim them. You have a far better claim than the lousy democrat. Go get them.

  8. libertariangirl libertariangirl March 19, 2009

    it was a rhetorical question , im just tired of over-arrogant Libs.

  9. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    libertariangirl, I do not understand. Show you what? A presidential victory? Isn’t that a Catch-22?

  10. libertariangirl libertariangirl March 19, 2009

    RM__Tom, nobody has DONE what I’ve proposed. Evidently everybody has listened. Correlation? Once a loser, always a loser?

    why do so may libertarians think they have the answers and if everybody just listened to them , the LP would be in power right now .

    quit saying it and show us

  11. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    This is how Obama-a liberal-got elected. He started by getting the progressive support. But he manipulated it. He had no legitimate claim to it. Eric does.

  12. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    I stand by what I say. Teddy Roosevelt MUST have been a left libertarian. Possibly attaining some sort of anarchistic perspective. I do not see any other possibility.

  13. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    Tom, nobody has DONE what I’ve proposed. Evidently everybody has listened. Correlation? Once a loser, always a loser? Listening but not doing? You tell me. All Eric has to do is publicly declare he is trying the Progressive Alliance Strategy. A press release. On his website. Whatever. If anyone is listening to HIM, there should be some reaction.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp March 19, 2009


    Listening to you and losing aren’t mutually exclusive activities. If I had to bet, I’d bet that every candidate who’s listened to you so far has lost. Correlation isn’t causation, of course.

  15. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 19, 2009

    Richard Cooper, EXCELLENT. Eric can claim the progressive vote instead of letting it default to the democrat. Are you going to listen to me or are you going to lose?

  16. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes March 18, 2009

    Eric, do what I said. Declare you are following the Progressive Alliance Strategy. You want all progressive/green votes 27% plus all the libertarian votes 13%. You want to be the only libertarian OR green on the ballot. Progressives & Greens & Libertarians can vote for the next declared Progressive Alliance candidate, whether Libertarian or Green. The Honor System requires the ONE candidate to be the first on the ballot. This should help motivate all Green or Libertarian candidates to get on first on EVERY ballot ASAP.

  17. Ross Levin Ross Levin March 18, 2009

    The Republicans are probably desperately trying to push him off of the ballot. He could end up getting more votes than the difference between the R and the D, and the Republicans have been touting this as a race to look to for the future (that is, the Republicans thought they had it locked up, but now it’s in doubt).

  18. Morris Guller Morris Guller March 18, 2009

    I also got a note from the general manager over at WMHT that Mr. Sundwall has been included in the debate they are sponsoring with the Times Union. That’s a reversal and a very good move. I hope WNYT and the Post Star will not end up being the only outlet that excludes Mr. Sundwall.

    By the way, if you know Sundwall is going to need money, now is a good time to send him some. Check out his web site and help out.

    Morris Guller
    Lexington, New York

  19. Nexus Nexus March 18, 2009

    “How much is that going to cost the taxpayers – or the Sundwall campaign?!”

    That’s the idea.

  20. Morris Guller Morris Guller March 18, 2009

    As someone who has been challenged (successfully) I can tell you that the Sundwall campaign has more than compensated for any “wrong addresses”.

    The ballots for this election have already been printed folks. The barn door is now closed.

    These folks are just spitting into the wind.

    Morris Guller
    Lexington, New York

  21. Rocky Eades Rocky Eades March 18, 2009

    Line by line challenges to 95% of Eric’s petitioners. My God! That seems excessive even for New York. How much is that going to cost the taxpayers – or the Sundwall campaign?!

  22. Michael Seebeck Michael Seebeck March 18, 2009

    BAN is reporting this morning that WMHT is including Sundwall in the debate.

  23. Kimberly Wilder Kimberly Wilder March 18, 2009

    As someone who has done a lot of petitioning and filing in NY:

    Having the wrong address on the petition does not matter if: The voter is, in fact, a registered voter in the district anyway. Ie: If they moved addresses within the district.

    When major parties and/or their lawyers write the challenges, they always try to make it sound so bad. But, it is really just hype and their lame attempt to throw the book at any candidate who dares to challenge them.

    Good luck with the petitions.

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