Opinion |

If you have been following local politics and the Village of Babylon election, you have likely heard of the Vote for Babylon Party’s petition plight. 

On the evening of Feb. 10, the party was alerted to the fact that a village resident filed a challenge to our petitions with the Village Clerk as well as the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

While the party candidates take full responsibility for using the incorrect nominating petition, we were hopeful that the Board of Elections would overlook this minor clerical error and respect the intent of the over 250 village residents who signed our petitions and wanted to see our names on the ballot on March 16.

The Vote for Babylon Party has put together a strong slate of candidates for the 2021 election, and it is clear that the party was deemed a threat.

Someone went to great lengths to keep our candidates off the ballot.

Our slate is comprised of: Kathy Hoffman for Mayor; TJ Golub for Trustee; Aidan Lyons for Trustee; and Kelly Peckholdt for Trustee.

All four Vote for Babylon candidates bring a variety of leadership experiences and impressive skill sets to the table. Hoffman first ran in 2019 against the late Ralph Scordino. For her first run, with a completely grassroots campaign, she earned an impressive 910 votes to Scordino’s 1289.

We were finally informed by mail late Saturday afternoon, Feb. 20, of the Board of Election’s decision to uphold the challenge and deem our nominating petition invalid.

Sadly, our names, as your candidates, will not appear on the official ballot, and we will not be permitted to have poll watchers on site the day of the election to witness the counting of your votes.

Despite following up daily with the Board of Elections on this pending decision, our four candidates were the last to be notified of the decision. Local media and government officials had the information days ahead of us.

It is widely known that elected officials have mutually agreed to not challenge petitions this year given the issues that go hand-in-hand with collecting in-person signatures in the midst of a pandemic.

There has been discussion of NYS eliminating the petition requirement to be on the ballot due to the pandemic.

However, this common courtesy was overlooked in our case.

The “concerned citizen” who filed the challenge did so at the very last moment that a challenge could be filed, and we are confident that he did not act alone.

How did this person even know that our petitions were at the Village Clerk’s office and able to be viewed? Not to mention, much of the information included in the challenge documents involved details above the experience level of the average person.

What is absolutely most disturbing about this scenario is that this act of challenging our petitions and removing us from the ballot has taken away the choice of the voters in Babylon Village.

Whether or not you decide that we are the right candidates for you, this should be extremely disturbing to every resident in the village.

This is not democracy at its finest.

However, we can assure you that this predicament has lit an even greater fire under our campaign. We are more motivated than ever to give you back your choice and to bring positive change and improvements to our wonderful village.

Please visit our website to read our candidates’ bios and read about our party platform – or to get involved by volunteering your time or making a donation to our campaign:

We are also on Facebook and Instagram: @voteforbabylon.

We will be pushing out more information about how to execute writing in our names on the ballot on Election Day. All four of us look forward to hopefully having the opportunity to bring innovative ideas to our community and serving our residents.

— Kathy Hoffman, TJ Golub, Aidan Lyons and Kelly Peckholdt