A petition drive launched by Mayor Byron W. Brown is a working attempt for Mayor Brown to gain an independent line on the November 2 ballot by disputing a petition filing deadline set earlier in the year by the New York legislature. 

Democratic Primary Recap

Mayor Brown has held office in Buffalo for four terms, and his political future in Western New York is a huge question mark. Brown lost the Democratic mayoral primary to India B. Walton, a political newcomer and progressive activist who has received support from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the U.S. representative for New York’s 14th congressional district. 

After the primary loss, Mayor Brown learned that he could still potentially be elected for a fifth term as the Buffalo mayor, so he launched an uphill write-in campaign for re-election. 

How Likely Is It Mayor Brown Will Get On The Ballot?

Both the Democratic and Republican commissioners at the Erie County Board of Elections confirmed that they were aware of Mayor Brown’s efforts.

Last week, Brown contacted Jeremy J. Zellner, the Erie County Democratic Committee chairman and the Democratic Board of Elections commissioner. Brown informed Zellner of the community petition effort to reserve a spot for Brown’s name on the November ballot as an independent candidate. 

However, Zellner does not want to talk about those petitions by Mayor Brown until he receives more information from the county attorney and the Board of Elections counsel.

Zellner has voiced support for Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo. She defeated Brown in the Democratic party’s primary by over one thousand votes.

How Will The Brown Campaign Advocate for Ballot Change?

Brown is scrambling to get on the ballot as an independent candidate after the State Legislature changed the filing period for independent nominating petitions for political office to “not earlier than 24 weeks and not later than 23 weeks,” before the November 2 election, as per state election law 6-154. Before the change, the previous deadline had been “not earlier than 12 weeks and not later than 11 weeks” before the election.

This means that under the new law, the filing of independent petitions was supposed to be between May 18 and May 25.

A spokeswoman for Brown’s mayoral campaign said that the drive to get him listed on the ballot as an independent is an effort to increase his chances of being re-elected, but it is unclear if Mayor Brown and his campaign will achieve these aspirations.

Mayor Brown is expected to make a public address on Friday, August 27.

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