Electoral Board reverses decision, will remove council candidate from ballot

Published 1:42 pm Monday, August 22, 2022

Suffolk Borough City Council candidate Art Bredemeyer will be removed from the ballot after all. 

In a reversal of a vote less than a week ago, the Electoral Board voted unanimously during a special meeting Monday to remove Bredemeyer from the ballot. 

It means Planning Commissioner John Rector will be the only person on the ballot for the Suffolk Borough seat. Donald Goldberg, who is the current borough representative on council, decided not to run for a third term. 

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General Registrar Burdette Lawrence said the vote Monday was “on the grounds of material omission by the circulator’s address and not (having) enough valid signatures on the petitions.”

The board had voted 2-1 at an Aug. 16 special meeting not to remove Bredemeyer from the ballot at that time. 

The issue centered around a report of fraudulent signatures on Bredemeyer’s petition to earn a spot on the ballot. 

Lawrence initially certified Bredemeyer as a candidate for the Suffolk Borough council election after the petition with 222 signatures was submitted. A council candidate needs 125 valid signatures to be put on the ballot. 

Her office, however, received a report of fraudulent signatures July 7 and turned the matter over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney the following day. 

The board met Aug. 9, she said, but called the special meeting to vote on whether Bredemeyer should remain on the ballot. Burdette said Aug. 16 that her office had received 78 signature complaints and has so far confirmed 84 invalid signatures. 

“I was asked my opinion regarding Mr. Bredemeyer’s removal by the board chairman (Brent Rowlands), and I stated that, in light of the numerous complaints, Mr. Bredemeyer should be removed,” Lawrence said last week.

Rowlands, in the initial vote on whether to remove Bredemeyer from the ballot, was the lone vote in favor of removing him, with board Vice Chairman Edward Roettger and Secretary Issac Baker voting against removing Bredemeyer. 

Following the vote, Lawrence said that “we then informed the public that we will seek legal counsel on how to proceed with removing Mr. Bredemeyer from the ballot.”

Bredemeyer, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2012 and lost to Goldberg for a council seat in 2018, previously said the person collecting signatures on his behalf was under investigation and was only used as a consultant for that part of the campaign.