BUFFALO, N.Y. — For now, Democratic primary winner India Walton remains the only name that will be on the November ballot for Buffalo mayor.
Incumbent Byron Brown's campaign attempted to submit independent nominating petitions to run on the Buffalo party line it created on August 17, three months past deadline.
"If anybody could file any set of documents whenever they wanted to outside of the timeframe it would really create chaos for elections in Erie County," Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr said.
Brown supporters began collecting the petitions following his upset primary loss to Walton in June. Prior to 2019, Brown's petitions would have been on time but the state Legislature changed the timeframe for handing them in from 23-24 weeks before the general election to 11-12, at the same time it moved primaries from September to June.
"The argument which is being advanced is that the date that the Legislature set, while the Legislature had the authority to set it, they set it too early," Mohr said.
Democratic Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said that argument is out of the board's purview. An attorney for Brown, Friday, argued election commissioners only have the authority to make rulings on the face of the petitions and leave questions of timing to the courts.
The commissioners rejected the argument.
"The board, at least in the 28 years that I've been here, has consistently ruled that we have to take into account the entire election law and with respect to that, we cannot ignore the filing deadline dates," Mohr said.
Brown's attorney indicated the campaign will likely still argue in court that the current petition deadline is too early. The campaign said it got more than five times the required number of signatures to get him on the ballot and thousands more have signed on to support his write-in campaign.
"We feel very good about where we are," Brown said. "What happened today is not unanticipated and we continue to move forward."
Walton meanwhile congratulated the BOE on "meeting its constitutional duty to uphold state law" and criticized Brown for subjecting the board to a "frivolous waste of time."