Malick defeats Democratic opponent's Reform OTB challenge
Contact: Diane Morgan
Albany, NY - In a board room with a representative from the NYS BOE, Election Attorney James Long, and Democratic State Senate candidate, Pramilla Malick it was determined that petition signatures for a write-in Reform primary submitted by Malick’s campaign were indeed valid.
Malick stated that she was “surprised” to discover that the challenger was not her Republican opponent, Annie Rabbit, but rather her Democratic opponent from Ulster County, Jennifer Metzger. “I was disappointed that a fellow Democrat would want to oppose the democratic process and the opportunity to engage more voters.”
Malick first decided to seek the Reform line when she learned that the state committee had approved their first ever semi-open primary in New York History. This means for the first time ever, as a result of her efforts, Unaffiliated voters in this district will be given the chance to choose a candidate in a primary. Malick said in a statement “There are tens of thousands of unaffiliated voters in our counties, mostly because people are so disillusioned with politics-as-usual. Politicians from both major parties have time and time again sacrificed the public interest for their personal gain. We, in Orange County, know better than anyone else that corruption knows no party bounds” says Malick. My goal has always been to bring disenfranchised voters back into the process and show them what true representation can yield.”
Ironically after challenging Malick’s Opportunity to Ballot (OTB) petitions and losing, her Democratic opponent is now asking Unaffiliated voters to write her name on the ballot, taking a page out of Republican John Bonacic’s playbook who similarly tried to take Malick’s OTB line in 2016 after initially challenging that petition. Despite Bonacic’s attempt to hijack the process Malick prevailed through a historic number of write-in votes and became the first Democrat to take on Bonacic in six years.
“We’re building on that momentum from two years ago and continuing to create innovative ways to inspire more voters to participate”, said Malick.
Malick called the Metzger campaign’s attempt to take the write-in after opposing it “hypocritical and disingenuous”. “Like Bonacic in 2016 my current opponent has chosen to use high-priced attorneys to waste our time and resources, while trying to obstruct greater voter participation.”
After submitting the required petition signatures to make 4 ballot lines (Democratic, Working Families, Women’s Equality Party, and Reform), Pramilla Malick, Chair of Protect Orange County, and 2018 Candidate for NYS Senate District 42, was informed she would not be receiving Wilson Pakula Authorizations to run on these third party lines.
Malick was undeterred when she learned that the parties would be denying their voters the primary they asked for, which she attributes to typical back door deals. She was determined to give all voters in her district a voice in the decision making process, especially unaffiliated “no party” voters, who’ve long been excluded from this process.
Her campaign decided to petition for a Reform write-in primary through the Opportunity to Ballot process, just as she did during her historic 2016 campaign getting the ballot line when 2600 voters wrote in her name. “Party officials have no say over whether there is a write-in primary or not, so they can’t game the system as they routinely do”, says Malick.
Malick’s campaign was notified that the OTB petitions submitted were challenged not by her Republican opponent, but by her Democratic opponent’s campaign. The challenger was Daniel Scherrer, a member of the Rosendale Democratic Committee, in Ulster County and their attorney was James Long who also represents her Democratic opponent’s campaign. “This challenge would have only served to benefit Annie Rabbitt, our Republican opponent.” said Malick.
The Wilson Pakula Act of 1947 is an antiquated and unethical law that allows party bosses to hand pick candidates and essentially denies their voters the right to engage the political process in a fundamental way. It states that even if a candidate collects the required number of signatures to run on a line (i.e. get the voters’ authorization), party leaders can simply say “no” and hand the line to their selected candidate instead.
In 2013, multiple elected officials were caught bribing party officials in order to gain Wilson Pakula Authorization. This is emblematic of the statewide corruption Malick has been fighting for years. Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a bill to repeal Wilson Pakula, which died in committee, as Cuomo may well have intended.