N.Y. Runoff Canceled, Sharpton Files Suit
NEW YORK (AllPolitics, Sep. 18) -- Gotham mayoral hopeful Al Sharpton has filed suit in federal court, hoping to overrule a decision that would cancel next week's Democratic runoff election between himself and Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger.
Following the Sep. 9 Democratic primary in which Messinger led Sharpton 39-32 percent, a runoff was scheduled since victory requires 40 percent of the vote. But Wednesday the Board of Elections canceled the runoff after absentee ballots gave Messinger 40.159 percent, 658 votes over the hurdle.
Sharpton, a longtime civil rights activist, charged the primary results are fraudulent and violated the voters' civil rights.
"There was such substantial fraud and irregularities in the conduct of the primary election ... that it is impossible to render a determination as to who was rightfully nominated," say court papers filed by Sharpton's attorney, Michael A. Hardy. The case is expected to be heard today with a decision rendered by Friday.
Among Sharpton's charges:
The Democratic candidate will face incumbent Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in November's general election. While welcoming the election board's decision, Messinger conceded the vote-counting process had been clunky.
"Assuming the numbers from last night hold up, I am delighted to be the nominee of the Democratic Party," she told reporters. "There is no question that the process took too long and that's frustrating."
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