Home>Campaigns>West New York arithmetic is different from other parts of N.J.

West New York Commissioners Maggie Guzman, right, and Cosmo Cirillo. (Photo: Margaritz Guzman).

West New York arithmetic is different from other parts of N.J.

By David Wildstein, March 09 2023 2:12 pm

In most municipalities, one person signing a nominating petition counts as one signature.  But in West New York, a single resident who signs on for all five candidates counts as five signatures.

When both slates seeking town commission seats in the May non-partisan municipal election inflate their numbers the same way, it’s a wash – unless one side deliberately fudges their numbers to give a false impression of their support.

Take the slate of former Rep. Albio Sires, who is seeking a return to the job he held for 11 years before becoming a congressman in 2006.  Sires and each of his four running mates filed with roughly 3,000 signatures – many the same – so his campaign did the math and announced that 15,000 West New York voters signed their petitions.

They knew it wasn’t 15,000 individuals because Team Sires knows how to do West New York arithmetic.

But a ticket headed by his rival for mayor, Cosmo Cirillo, was deliberately deceptive.

Cirillo and each of his running mates filed 500 signatures – 150 more than they were required to file to get on the ballot.

Christina Pinzon. (Photo: Stateside Public Affairs).

Using West New York arithmetic, that would have been 2,500 signatures.  But in a press release, Cirillo’s West New York Forward slate touted that they had “collected more than 12,000 petition signatures from community members of various demographics and socioeconomic levels.”

“The outpouring of support signifies the community’s endorsement of Cosmo’s team for a better West New York,” said Casey Abline, a spokesperson for the campaign.

But that turned out not to be true.   When the New Jersey Globe questioned Albine about West New York’s new math, she flipped the inquiry to her boss, Christina Pinzon.

Pinzon had what she thought was a clever, perhaps even technically true answer, mendacious as it was.

“If you look at the release, we said ‘collected,’” she said.  “We never said we filed 12,000.”

Cirillo even backed up the fuzzy math claim with his own statement.

“My sincere gratitude goes out to my team, the campaign volunteers, and all of the community members who came out and signed petitions to make running for office possible,” Cirillo stated. “The overflow of support for our team shows unequivocally that our community is prepared for elected officials who will bring about genuine change in West New York.”

A spokesman for the Sires campaign, Phil Swibinski, said that “Cirillo and his team need to come clean with the people of West New York and explain why they said they had obtained 12,000 petitions when only a fraction of that number were actually submitted to the Town Clerk.”

“If the rest of these petitions they say they have gathered actually exist, they should prove it by allowing the media or an independent authority to inspect them,” Swibinski said.  “The West New York Forward team is playing games with the people of West New York.”

The New Jersey Globe asked the Cirillo campaign to either release the complete petitions or to allow an independent inspection.  They declined.

“They’re not going to release them,” said Laura Gaviria, a third Cirillo spokesperson.  “It’s not a requirement to show them you or anyone else.”

Instead, Gaviria said the campaign has another purpose for the unfiled petition.

“They’re going to be using it to knock on doors,” she explained.

Spread the news: