Appellate judge blocks order to put Buffalo mayor on November ballot

Erie County

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — A state appellate court put on hold a ruling that puts Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on the November ballot. However, a ruling from a federal judge along the same lines still stands, for now.

Brown was first elected mayor of Buffalo’s on the Democratic ticket in 2005. In June, he was defeated in the Democratic Primary for mayor by India Walton, a “very proud” Democratic Socialist. At first, the incumbent Brown announced he would work on a write-in campaign during the general election. Then, he attempted to submit petitions to get on the ballot under the independent “Buffalo Party” after the 23-week deadline.

Elections officials deemed Brown’s submission to be late, prompting him to sue. He succeeded in convincing both Judge Paul Wojtaszek and U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra that his name should be listed despite missing the deadline. He issued that decision last Friday, saying the state’s 23-week deadline for independent nominating petitions was “excessively early” and unconstitutional.

Yet Judge Nancy Smith—of the Fourth Department of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division—issued a stay of Wojtaszek’s order that Brown be included on the ballot on the “Buffalo Party” line. Smith has also ordered the Erie County Board of Elections not to certify its ballot for Mayor of Buffalo until the case can be further considered.

“This is clearly a wise decision,” said Walton in a statement. “If everyday Buffalonians are late on rent, parking fees, or school assignments, they face consequences. There is no reason the rules should not apply to my GOP-backed opponent as well.”

Sinatra’s preliminary injunction is also being appealed by Walton. Supporters for Brown, who are the plaintiffs in the federal case, have been given until Friday by the 2nd Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals to present their case. Walton will then have until Monday to respond.

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for September 16. Before Smith’s order, the Erie County Board of Elections officials had been set to certify the ballot during a 4 p.m. meeting Thursday.

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