Democratic congressional primary candidates clash over petition challenge amid Covid-19 outbreak


Mark Fink (l.) and Andom Ghebreghiorgis

Pelham resident Chris Fink, who is one of three seeking to face Rep. Eliot Engel in the Democratic primary, charged that candidate Andom Ghebreghiorgis’ move to challenge the other candidates’ ballot petitions was “frivolous as well as dangerous” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the midst of a pandemic, were employees of the BOE (board of elections) required to come in to check the thousands of signatures that have been challenged would unnecessarily put these workers in harm’s way,” Fink said in a April 3 press release.

The Ghebreghiorgis campaign’s complaint to the Westchester Board of Elections said that 95% of the signatures on each of the three other candidates’ petitions were illegible, said Fink. “There was clearly no attempt to see if these signers were registered voters, nor was there a review of their signatures by checking them at the board of elections.”

Jamaal Bowman is also seeking a line on the primary ballot for the 16th Congressional District.

Christian Amato, campaign manager for Ghebreghiorgis, said, “When we received the other candidates’ petitions, we saw errors that violated the board of elections guidelines for the petitioning process.” He offered no comment on the high number of signatures challenged or taking the step during the crisis.

Fink’s release said his campaign filed more than three times the number of signatures required and Engel and Bowman “are also within that range.”