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Residency Rules
February 25th, 2007

Murky rules have complicated the case of Mathieu Eugene, the newly elected City Council member from Brooklyns 40th District, who apparently did not live in that district on election day. Everyone to agree that council members have to live in the districts they represent; what remains unclear is when they have to move into that district.

The New York Times said election law experts are divided over whether Eugene satisfied the requirements by moving into the district since election day, February 20. His lawyer, Paul Wooten, said Eugene does not have to reside in the district until the election results are final, which could take another week or so. Lawrence Mandelker, a former chairman of the New York City Bar Associations election law committee, agreed: The Public Officers Law says a person has to be a resident of the district at the time he is chosen….If he moves into the district before the certification, he can argue he satisfied the law.

But in an editorial the Daily News dismisses such arguments, saying Eugene is now embarked on creative homesteading.By our lights, the answer is obvious: The time of the election was when voters voted and the polls opened and closed. If Eugene had not moved into the 40th district by that day…he shouldn’t be sworn in.

In a comment on the Room Eight blog, rwallnerny agrees that Eugenes machinations showed a lack of integrity on his part. But the real problem is the rules themselves, which the blogger continues, need to be changed.A prospective candidate should in the future be required to be a resident of the district in which he proposes to run by the time he files the paperwork for intent to petition.

But an Anonymous commentator questions the wisdom of adding more rules to New Yorks already Byzantine system for filing to run for office. Some of the same guys complaining the loudest about this spent half of last summer attacking candidates for bringing residency challenges against their opponents, the blogger writes.

Eugenes political future now rests with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who must try to unravel the mess.

By on February 25, 2007, 3:44 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off on Residency Rules

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