A Bushwick community activist running for ex-Councilman Rafael Espinal’s vacant seat is accusing the city’s Board of Elections of playing politics to help ensure the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s preferred candidate runs unopposed in the June primary.
Candidate Sandy Nurse told The Post Monday that she believes the BOE and party leaders are in cahoots to ensure 54th Assembly district leader Darma Diaz gets the Democratic nomination for the council.
“Instead of using their clout to help the people of New York City during a crisis, Darma and her allies in Democratic establishment are resorting to a dirty move that is a blatant abuse of power,” said Nurse, whose endorsements include Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Working Families Party.
“They are using this technical glitch to exploit the pandemic and try to kick myself and the other three people running off the ballot. These petition challenges were filed to suppress democracy, not to protect it.”
The City Charter says the petition threshold is normally 450 signatures, while the state uses 900. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order last month that slashed the number of signatures required for the primary to just 30 percent of what is normally required for the primary.
With the governor’s reduction, that’s the difference between 135 or 270 signatures being needed.
Nurse and most candidates targeted the lower number for the primary ballot.
The BOE, however, is claiming that candidates must meet the higher threshold — setting up Diaz as the only candidate to potentially qualify.
The matter is ultimately expected to be decided by a judge.
BOE did not return messages, but Kings County Democratic Committee spokesman Bob Liff said Nurse and her campaign only have themselves to blame.
“Everybody worked under the same rules and the same constraints,” he said.
Epsinal stepped down in January to take a job with the Freelancers Union. It came as a surprise because his current term runs until Dec. 31, 2021.
In a bizarre twist, Church has qualified for a special election also on June 23 to fill the post until Election Day this November.
The primary will help decide who fills out Espinal’s term from November through the end of next year.