Two Green Party candidates for New Yorkâ€™s 23rd congressional district have been disqualified, but the story doesnâ€™t end there.
Green Party members Darin Robbins of Corning and Amber Cole had been listed as candidates for the 2014 election, though apparently they were put on the ballot without their consent.
Co-chair of the New York State Green Party Michael Oâ€™Neil says that someone not affiliated with the party gathered enough signatures from Green Party voters in the 23rd congressional district to get their names on the ballot.
Oâ€™Neil says neither Robbins nor Cole knew they were on the ballot, and he believes this is an example of dirty politics in New York State.
“This is another reminder of the predatory environment in New York State when it comes to the way the duopoly parties pursue elections,” O’Neil said. “It demonstrates a widespread lack of respect for elections as an exercise in democracy by the people.”
The person who gathered the signatures is listed as Aaron Keiser. Heâ€™s a former videotracker with the National Republican CongressionalÂ Committee.
NRCC spokesperson Ian Prior said they stopped paying Keiser in December of 2013, and havenâ€™t been in contact with him since.
Green party member and former Ithaca city councilwoman Jennifer Dotson was approached by Keiser. She said he told her he was from the Green Party.
“I just feel appalled,” Dotson said. “I think most of us who vote county on the democratic process to work, and to find out that somebody is misrepresenting themselves…it just turns my stomach.”
Dotson said she doesnâ€™t recall if the man gave a name.
New York State Board of Elections Spokesperson John Conklin told WHCU that Robbins was disqualified because the petition was filed late, and Amber Cole was disqualified because the petition listed an incorrect address.
He also said Keisterâ€™s actions were not illegal.