The NYC CAN petition was rejected by the City Clerk on Friday, July 24th, a week ago, certifying less than the minimum of 30,000 qualified signatures of electors. This benchmark, according to the Clerk's office was not met. A 'qualified elector' is a registered New York City voter who was eligible to vote in the last election. According to the letter sent by the Clerk to the City Council, the NY Board of Elections validated 26,003 signatures and invalidated 24,664, leaving 1,333 that were not certified.
At a hearing scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, before a Supreme Court Justice, the plaintiffs, representing tens of thousands of concerned New Yorkers who support a new 9/11 investigation, will formally raise their request for an independent review of the Board of Elections findings. If granted by the presiding Justice, a re-validation of the petition signatures by an independent special referee will follow.
In addition to the requirement to reach the threshold of 30,000 qualified electors, the petition itself must comply with New York Municipal Home Rule Law and relevant Election Laws. The City Clerk maintains the Petition fell short in several areas, but it should be emphasized that this is the legal opinion of the Corporation Counsel, the City of New York's top lawyer, and will be challenged in court by lawyers for the five plaintiffs.
Legal advisors to the plaintiffs believe that the legal objections raised by the Corporation Counsel are specious and should be set aside, however considering the political implications and official opposition to the proposed Commission, obtaining approval for placing the referendum question on the ballet itself will be fraught with difficulty and challenge each step of the way.
The fact is that, historically in New York City, ballot initiatives have not been successful. The last two were denied by the City Clerk. In both cases the petitioners filed a suit and ultimately lost and thus NYC CAN anticipated the response of the Clerk. And though the odds are stacked against us, we are committed to take the next steps available to us.
Regardless of the outcome, the court case will serve to amplify the demand for a new 9/11 investigation and with lessons learned, should serve to strengthen the ability of the people to petition their government for meaningful referendums in the future.
Please donate to this historic court case now: Go to http://nyccan.org/donate_ae.php.
NYC CAN is non-partisan organization comprised of 9/11 families, first responders, survivors and proud, concerned citizens committed to bringing about an independent, impartial investigation into the events of September 11.