Nix Removed From Mayoral Ballot, Fights To Get Back On

It’s tough to fight the political machine when you don’t have resources or friends on the inside. Niagara Falls mayoral candidate Demetrius Nix is finding that out the hard way.

Out At The Board of Elections

Earlier this week, Nix received a Notice of Determination from the Niagara County Board of Elections that he was booted from the ballot in June’s Democratic party mayoral primary election.

The Notice, signed by Democratic Commissioner Lora Allen and Republican Commissioner Jennifer Sandonato, stated Nix had insufficient signatures on his designating petition submitted to the Board earlier this month.

While Nix’s petition had almost 800 voters endorse his candidacy, the Board determined that less than 500 signatures came from validly registered and enrolled members of the Democratic Party.

GOP Elections Commissioner Jennifer Sandonato

GOP Elections Commissioner Jennifer Sandonato

Nix’s political ally, Uniqua Lewis, received a similar notice bouncing her from the City Council ballot.

“I knew we were facing an uphill battle. They have their own agenda,” Nix said, referring to the Niagara County Board of Elections.

Will Nix Challenge the Board?

The Board of Elections is traditionally a creature of local political parties, with loyal party faithful appointed to powerful patronage positions.

The Nix campaign registered hundreds of brand-new voters. Nix says he personally collected voter registration forms, and delivered them to the Board of Elections office in Lockport every week. Then, once the Board had received the registrations, he sought the new voter’s signature on his designating petition.

“I asked the person on the Board how to do it right. They said I had to turn in the registration, and by the next day, the person would be registered, party enrolled, and legally ready to sign my petition.”

The Board’s determination means they believe Nix didn’t “do it right” with his petition. He thinks the Board is not giving him proper credit for the hundreds of new voters he registered that signed for him.

Democrat Elections Commissioner Lora Allen

Democrat Elections Commissioner Lora Allen

We called the Republican and Democratic Elections Commissioners for clarity on the Determination, but no call-back was received as of press time.

Nix’s mayoral hopes may hang on whether the timing of his newly-minted voters’ signatures was correct.

Under New York Election Law, a person is not registered until the application form is reviewed and examined by at least two members of the county board of elections who shall represent the two major parties. In this case, it is Commissioners Allen and Sandonato.

Nix said he intends to bring a petition to validate the disqualified signatures and restore his name to the primary election ballot.

Nix said he would file with the Supreme Court Tuesday disputing the decision of the Niagara County Board of Elections.

Did Politics Play A Role?

Nix thinks politics plays a part in his disqualification from the ballot.

“I had no shot at the Board. I’m a threat to the Democrats because I’m taking votes from the mayor where he needs them. And I’m a threat to the Republicans because of who they are running,” Nix said.

Incumbent Mayor Robert Restaino

The Niagara County Democratic Committee endorsed incumbent Mayor Robert Restaino. He will face former Councilman Glenn Choolokian in the June 27 primary election, with Nix potentially in the race if a judge puts him back on the ballot.

The Democratic winner will face retired Deputy Police Chief and Air Force veteran Carl Cain, the Republican candidate, in the general election on November 7.

Demetrius Nix For Mayor, After All?

Even if he can’t convince a judge to let him run in the Democratic Primary, Demetreus Nix will not be deterred. He is already circulating Independent Nominating Petitions for his own ballot line in the fall.

“We’ve already started with petitions for the ‘We All We Got’ ballot line. We need around 700 good signatures for mayor, and I think we’ll get them.”

Uniqua Lewis also plans to run for City Council on the same ‘We All We Got’ line.

Independent nominating petitions for Niagara Falls races must be filed with the Niagara County Board of Elections on or before May 30.


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