Republicans in New York File Challenges to Keep Libertarian Candidates Off Ballot

gigi bowman

Taking lessons apparently from Republicans in Illinois , Ohio , and Oregon , several Republicans in New York have filed challenges to some of the candidates’ petitions in order to keep Libertarians off the ballot.

Date: Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Subject: New Yorkers file 35,000 signatures for fourteen Libertarian candidates–Too Much for the Republicans

To: LP-State Chairs , LP_8new
Cc: Wes Benedict , Carla Howell , Bob Johnston , Eric Dixon

The Republican lobbyist who filed a general challenge to the New York Libertarian Party statewide slate has failed to perfect his challenge, meaning that Michael McDermott, Chris Edes, John Clifton and Carl Person are on the ballot for Governor, Lt. Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General. No doubt the Republican operatives were overwhelmed by the massive pile of over 29,000 signatures from New Yorkers who want another choice besides Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum on the ballot for Governor this year.

Separately, Grant Lally filed over 5000 sigs to get on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District and David Casavis and John K. Wilson filed over 1000 signatures for their assembly districts in Manhattan and Queens, bringing the total number of signatures filed for Libertarians in New York to well over 35,000.

Mark Glogowski filed so many signatures for his race in the the 139th Assembly District that no challenges were filed against him as well.

Republicans have challenged four other Libertarian candidates and we will oppose them with respect to Gigi Bowman for New York State Senate District 5. Gigi submitted approximately 5000 signatures for an office which requires only 3000 valid signatures. Incredibly, the Republicans claim that every single one of Gigi’s signatures was fraudulently obtained.

As we have seen in Illinois and elsewhere, Republican thugs will stop at nothing to prevent choice on the ballot. Neither the Board of Elections, the courts nor the voters should be fooled by their duplicity.

Mark Axinn

Mr. Axinn has written this press release:

Subject: Press release: State Senator Marcellino Sues to Prevent Voter Choice

Contact: Mark Axinn, 212-753-5599,

New York (September 3, 2014)—

Should politicians who are already in office have the right to limit the candidates for whom New Yorkers vote?

State Senator Carl Marcellino apparently thinks so.

Yesterday, he and three of his Republican supporters sued Gigi Bowman, the Libertarian candidate for New York State Senate District 5, and the State Board of Elections to keep Bowman off the ballot.

Huntington-based Ms. Bowman collected approximately 5000 voter signatures in six weeks this summer. In their lawsuit, the Republicans claim that every one of her signatures was fraudulently obtained.

New York Libertarian Party Chair Mark Axinn commented, “The Republican Party will stop at nothing to prevent choice on the ballot. Neither the Board of Elections, the courts nor the voters should be fooled by their duplicity.”

Speaking for the 42 year-old Libertarian Party which defends constitutionally limited government, individual freedom, and an end to all prohibition, Gubernatorial candidate Michael McDermott stated, “New Yorkers should not be limited to choosing the lesser of two evils. Instead, New Yorkers should cast their votes for a balanced budget, real growth in private sector jobs, an end to the failed welfare state, and an end to needless suffering caused by inhumane drug prohibition.”

The Libertarian Party stands for both personal and economic freedom and minimal government regulation at all levels.

Mark Axinn, the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of New York also happens to practice law in that state. He sent this letter to the New York State Board of Elections:

September 2, 2014


Robert A. Brehm
Co-Executive Director

Todd D. Valentine
Co-Executive Director

New York State Board of Elections
40 N. Pearl Street, Suite 5
Albany, New York 12207

Specifications of Objection to Nominating
Petition of Georgina Bowman
Senate District 5–Libertarian Party of New York


I am the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of New York which assisted in filing a nominating petition for Georgina Bowman for Senate District 5 on August 19, 2014.

I write with respect to the objection specifications filed against said petition alleging that two of the witnesses to the petition are not registered voters.

The first objection is to those signatures witnessed by Alessandra Penzato-Viletto. In fact, Ms. Alessandra Penzato-Viletto is registered to vote at xxxxxxxxxx, Wappinger Falls, New York 12590. Accordingly, the 97 signatures which she witnessed should not be disallowed.

The second objection is to those signatures witnessed by Gene Farmer. In fact, Mr. Farmer is registered to vote at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Middle Island, New York 11953. Accordingly, the 132 signatures which he witnessed should not be disallowed.

Pursuant to Election Law 6-140(1)(b),”[t]here shall be appended at the bottom of each sheet a signed statement of a witness who is a duly qualified voter of the state.” Both Mr. Farmer and Ms Penzato-Viletto so qualify. Accordingly, the signatures which they witnessed should not be disallowed.

Significantly, the total number of valid signatures submitted on this petition exceeds 3000. Accordingly the objection should be rejected as Ms. Bowman has submitted more than the statutorily required number of signatures,

Thank you for your prompt consideration and review of the matters I raise herein.

Very truly yours, Mark N. Axinn

cc: Georgina Bowman
John Ciampoli, Esq.

Here is the complaint:


56 thoughts on “Republicans in New York File Challenges to Keep Libertarian Candidates Off Ballot

  1. Mark Axinn

    Board of Elections has an open meeting tomorrow, Sept. 4, at Noon.

    There are many matters on their calendar, so we don’t know yet if they will address the specifications filed against Gigi.

  2. Ken Jacoby

    The NYS GOP, especially the Nassau County club, has repeatedly shown itself to be against the basic rights of citizens to run for office or vote for the candidates of the citizens’ choice. This is not the first time they’ve attempted this and there are several lawsuits currently pending in courts to protect and promote our rights, if only the courts would do the right thing and stand up for WE THE PEOPLE!

  3. Pingback: NY Republicans vs. Gigi Bowman –Mother, Activist and Citizen « Liberty Candidates blog


    Two thoughts to combat these a…holes in every state. 1)Start challenging the GOP candidate petitions. I bet many of them just get a few extra signatures than required and the petition can be invalidated with just a few bad signatures. And 2) tell the GOP powers that be that if the LP can’t get on the ballot as Libertarians, then they will start running as Republicans and does the
    GOP really want to be associated with some of the more flamboyant and “out there” statements that these new “Republican” candidates may utter during their primary campaigns?

  5. Mark Axinn


    In New York, only a person who is qualified to sign the petition may challenge it.

    Gigi’s challengers are registered voters in her district.

    To challenge a party petition (remember LP is not a party in NY), one has to be a member of that party. So we would have to have registered Republicans challenge the Republican petition if we followed your suggestion.

  6. Mark Axinn

    Board of Elections met today, did not address the Gigi Bowman challenge, but did address several others.

    Sam Sloan is toast (again).

  7. paulie

    There are some Libertarians who like to do that because they prefer certain Repubicans in the primaries so maybe they can challenge the other Republicans while they are at it.

  8. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Paulie, I’ve called you a couple of times, but your phone isn’t accepting messages. Can you call me when you have a minute, please?

  9. Mark Axinn

    We have Democrats, Republicans, independents and even some registered Libertarians like me in the Libertarian Party of New York.

  10. paulie

    We have Democrats, Republicans, independents and even some registered Libertarians like me in the Libertarian Party of New York.

    So no shortage of registered Republicans if you decide to retaliate in kind.

  11. Mark Axinn

    The BOE Commissioners met yesterday (Sept. 4) and made several rulings.

    Sam Sloan’s bogus petition as Libertarian Party candidate for Governor was ruled prima facie invalid as was the petition of Michael Carey of the Life and Justice Party.

    As no specifications were filed relating to the McDermott/Edes/Clifton/Person pettition which we filed on August 19, the four LPNY statewide candidates are on the ballot in New York. In total, at least eight of our candidates will appear on ballots on November 4.

    Several local candidates’ petitions, some ours, were found to be invalid due to insufficient signatures. These rulings were expected.

    There are many pending objections (BOE received 44 sets of specifications in the last two weeks), including Gigi Bowman for State Senate, on which no rulings were made yet.

    The next BOE Commissioners’ meeting is Sept. 26. Special thanks for our man on the spot, Bill McMillen, thirty-plus year member of the LP.

  12. Jim Polichak

    This is a time honored practice. Do your damnedest to make minor parties and independents exhaust their resources obtaining a place on the ballot to prevent their use during the actual campaign. The election is 60 days away and Gigi {et alia} is being forced to spend money and time on court battles instead of radio and newspaper promotions.

  13. Alabama Independent

    I need some volunteers to help organize a real 3rd party in Alabama. let me know by email that you are seriosly interested, and then I will make arrangements to get you either by telephone or email. I am serious. Please be serious also.

  14. paulie


    Not sure why you posted that on this particular thread, but the closest thing we have to a real third party in Alabama is

    The biggest problem we have is that it takes about 60,000 to 70,000 signatures to get statewide ballot access. Then you have to do it again two years later if you don’t get 20% in a statewide race.

    Realistically, that takes a lot of money, because volunteers don’t produce very many signatures. I’ve collected tens of thousands of signatures in Alabama, almost every year since 1998 and in every county in the state for several alt (“third”) parties and a variety of independent candidates.

    We could use some help lobbying the legislature to change the laws. They have already been challenged many times in court, and continue to be, with no success so far.

    My number is 205-534-1622 if you want to talk about it.

    If you prefer email, use

    Your email is not visible in IPR comments (except to IPR editors such as me) and I suggest open thread for discussions not directly related to a particular post or ongoing conversation.

  15. Jim Polichak

    Just saying you want to organize a third party is meaningless. Every party, especially at its inception, has to having at least one compelling reason for people to support it. Most often it’s ideological. Sometimes it’s one important issue such as anti-slavery or anti-war. Many times it’s a collection of loosely associated issues like the Progressive Party in the early 1900s.

  16. paulie

    Volunteers to get that many signatures? Good luck. I have dealt with hundreds of petition drives in nearly 40 states in every possible capaciy over 16 years, and that never works. A signature drive of that size has to pay, and it has to pay market rates, which ain’t cheap, or it fails. If you are a really good organizer, volunteers will get you part of the way, but usually not a huge part and it takes years of activity to find and motivate these volunteers.

  17. Jim Polichak

    Like I said before – The two major parties have written laws that all but insure that they will hold power for as log as the nation exists. They learned their lessons by the demise of the Federalists and the Whigs. They won’t allow it to happen to them.

  18. Jim Polichak

    In the 29th Century there were three third party candidates for president that broke 10% and each had a compelling reason why they did so. Teddy Roosevelt was a former president. George Wallace was a noted segregationist running at the height of the civil rights movement, and Ross Perot was a billionaire who freely spent his own money. Other then these three candidates most third parties are forced to deplete their resources just to get on the ballot in all fifty states. Most third parties fail to get on more than half.

  19. Mark Axinn

    As the last debate is not on thread, I will bring it back to remind people that the next court date on Marcellino’s challenge to Gigi’s petition is September 23 in Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola before Justice Winslow at 9:30 am.

    Gigi can use as many supporters as can make it that morning.

  20. Gene Berkman

    Interesting comment by Jim on how similar the 29th Century will be to the 20th Century. However, he left out Sen. Robert M Lafollette of Wisconsin, who received 16.7% of the vote in 1924 running as an Independent Progressive. Part of his vote came from progressives in both major parties who agreed with his program and admired his life-long dedication; part from Socialists who thought his campaign would be stronger than any campaign they could run on their own; and a big part from German Americans who appreciated Sen. Lafollette’s opposition to American participation in World War I.

  21. Mark Axinn

    Back on topic:

    Gigi Bowman’s attorney Gary Donoyan has filed a motion to dismiss the proceeding on various jurisdictional grounds or in the alternative to change the venue to Albany County, which motion is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 in the Nassau County Supreme Court building in Mineola at 9:30 a.m.

  22. Mark Axinn

    Board of Elections Clerk’s Report was sent on disc to Gigi yesterday.

    The NY BOE Clerks found she has 3,069 valid signatures in district..Statute requires 3,000 so we believe it is likely that the BOE will rule that Gigi is on the ballot!!!!!

    Marcellino will challenge that in his pending lawsuit, which we have moved to dismiss.Our position is of course enhanced if the State BOE rules she qualifies.

    The plot thickens…..

  23. Mark Axinn

    We will see….

    Remember, she started with 5192 raw, so that’s after BOE review.

    Most of the ones they did not include were out of district, so they still counted for the statewide slate, just not for Gigi.

  24. paulie

    Maybe I misunderstand the NY process.

    Am I incorrect that the 3069 remaining signatures have two more hurdles to clear after they have cleared one (BOE Clerks) – BOE itself and then the courts (or is it more than one level of court)?

    And when do the ballots get printed?

  25. Mark Axinn


    You are correct. Two more hurdles, although it is very likely the BOE Commissioners (which is the official ruling) will follow their clerks’ report. There is a hearing on the clerks’ report tomorrow (we will be there) and the Commissioners’ meeting is next Friday, Sept. 26 (we will be there too).

    Court challenges are pending simultaneously. Of course we are stronger in court if the BOE determines in our favor, as judges usually but not always defer to the findings of administrative agencies. Also, we have a motion retrurnable on Tuesday to dismiss the court proceeding on jurisdictional grounds, which would be a home run at that point.

    I don’t know when they print ballots, but certainly not prior to Sept. 26.

  26. Mark Axinn

    BOE Commissioners are well known to us, even balance of R’s and D’s, no independents.

    I actually litigated against the lead Democratic Commissioner (Doug Kellner) approx. 15 years ago, not in a political context. They are pretty good at applying the law, but do not deviate even if equity would dictate to do so.

    Our Judge in the Supreme Court is Dana Winslow, approx. 70 years old so not beholden to either party. Gary Donoyan likes him and is optimistic about our case.

  27. Mark Axinn

    Victory at Level 1–BOE Clerks found 3074 valid signatures (we actually went up by five sigs.)!!!!!!!

  28. Lazarus the Great

    New York City — my old stomping grounds — a modern day $odom and Gomorrah — the sewers are cleaner than the streets — the Republican Party owns a suite in Trump Tower where they put on Burlesque shows every Thursday night. It’s nothing to worry about. Libertarians are fine.

    “Come on up for the rising”

  29. Mark Axinn

    Motion to dismiss Republican lawsuit adjourned until Friday, Sept. 26 at Judge Winslow’s request.

    Same day as formal BOE Commissioners Meeting in Albany.

    Should be a busy day for us!

  30. Mark Axinn

    New York Libertarians Defend Ballot Position Against Republican Challenge in Court Friday

    Incumbent Marcellino filed suit alleging fraudulent signatures

    Mineloa, New York (PRWEB) September 26, 2014
    The continuing legal battle for the New York State Senate’s Fifth District returns to court this morning, with a hearing at 9:30AM in the Nassau County Supreme Court. The matter is Index Number 8640/14 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. At issue is whether or not Georgina “Gigi” Bowman will appear on the ballot this November 4th. The New York State Board of Election clerks’ report has stated Ms. Bowman has more than enough signatures to have a spot on the Libertarian line. Republican incumbent Carl Marcellino filed a lawsuit alleging fraudulent petitions and Bowman’s campaign will contest those objections in court today.
    The suit is based on objections filed by 3 of Senator Marcellio’s paid staffers, Robert Conte, Mary Anne Hicks and Kathy Wilson. Conte, Hicks and Wilson all appear as Marcellino employees in NY Senate Payroll Report.
    Ms. Bowman’s campaign shared a petition with current New York gubernatorial candidate Michael McDermott, who has already been approved for the ballot with the same signatures being disputed in papers filed by Suffolk Attorney John Ciampoli. The Libertarian Party of New York’s longtime attorney, Gary Donoyan is representing Ms. Bowman in the case, with support from lawyer and Party Chair Mark Axinn.
    Ms. Bowman has been a member of the Libertarian Party for several years, and is its endorsed candidate in the Fifth District race. She has been extremely vocal in her criticism of the incumbent and his policies, as well as his vote to help enact the SAFE Act restricting firearm ownership and magazine capacity inside New York state borders.
    In addition, the New York State Board of Elections Commissioners will meet at noon today in Albany, to decide whether to accept or reject the board’s clerk report.
    All in all, a very tense and nerve-wracking day looks to be in store for both the Republican and Libertarian State Senate campaigns.

  31. paulie

    In addition, the New York State Board of Elections Commissioners will meet at noon today in Albany, to decide whether to accept or reject the board’s clerk report.

    Thanks for the updates. Good luck!

  32. Mark Axinn

    The lawsuit against Gigi was not dismissed but was transferred to Albany County for any further proceedings as that is where the State Board of Elections is located. Today, Gigi received the formal written notification from the State Board that the administrative challenge to her being on the ballot was denied as the State Board found that she has 3,074 valid signatures.

  33. paulie

    Thanks for the update. You probably answered this already but I don’t remember, when do ballots get printed? Courts are usually much less eager to reverse a standing decision once that happens since it involves reprinting costs and delays in the start of early voting which tends to be a statutory violations as well as grounds for additional lawsuits by ciizens overseas and/or in the military among others.

  34. Mark Axinn

    Agreed. Don’t know when the printing date is, but it has not happened yet.

    Time is on our side on this issue. The transfer to Albany set the forces of evil back, and they could not come up with a good argument to the Judge this morning in Nassau County to oppose it.

    The other good factor we have is the BOE determination. Remember, the Republicans are asking a Judge to void the finding of the administrative agency which already reviewed and determined the matter. That happens sometimes, but much more often the Judges confirm the findings of the agency (in this case, the State Board of Elections).

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