Byron Brown challenges state election calendar in new petition to get on the Buffalo mayoral ballot

India Walton-Byron Brown mayoral race

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo mayor Byron Brown is challenging the state’s new elections calendar in the hope he can get on the ballot to keep his job in November.

As things currently stand, Brown won’t be on the ballot in this year’s mayoral race – he lost the primary election to India Walton in June and has been running a write-in campaign since. But this week, he tried a new tactic.

Brown confirmed Monday that he planned to submit a petition with over 3,000 signatures to get on the ballot as a candidate with the “Buffalo Party.” Tuesday, he followed through with 257 pages of signatures – but whether or not he will be successful remains to be seen.

The deadline for independent petitions to get on the ballot was May 25. The deadline used to be 11 weeks before the election (in this case, Aug. 17), but the state legislature moved that to 23 weeks in early 2021 and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the change into law.

“I don’t make much of it,” Walton said in response to Brown’s attempt to get on the ballot. “We had a primary election, the voters spoke, he chose to not run a campaign [in the primary] and this what we have.”

The grounds on which the Brown campaign is challenging the deadline remain unclear. But political analyst Carl Calabrese says the appeal process could drag on.

“There have been no precedents cited, no cases, no judicial opinions and so I guess they’re probably just looking for a friendly judge who will side with them and make a ruling in favor of them,” Calabrese said. “But the problem is, guaranteed, whatever side loses in round one is going to appeal. So this thing is gonna go on for awhile.”

A recent, exclusive poll of likely Buffalo voters found Brown leading the race by 10 points. But unless Brown is able to get on the ballot, he’ll need to rely on voters properly writing him in to be successful in November.

“The volunteers that have been going door to door, the thousands of people that have signed this petition will certainly be helpful with the ‘Write it Down Byron Brown’ [campaign] even if this strategy does not work,” Brown said Monday. “We literally now have thousands more people who’ve indicated that they want to re-elect me mayor of the City of Buffalo.”

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