Thursday, March 23, 2006

Some Degree of Justice for Erin Malloy

While this is a web site that focuses on national political issues, I paid special attention to the theft of the mayoral election in tiny Irvington, New York last year. Democrat Erin Malloy had won the election by one vote and endured months of legal wrangling by Republican Dennis Flood and his high-powered election lawyer, bussed in by the GOP in Albany, to make the results more palatable to their side.

To do this, Flood challenged the Malloy vote cast by Susan Brenner-Morton, a longtime Irvington resident, on a technicality over whether her last name should have been signed “Brenner-Morton” or simply “Morton” on her absentee ballot. Unbelievably, this effort was successful, Brenner-Morton was disenfranchised and the election remained a tie until October, when it was finally decided with a game of chance as called for by New York state law — in this case, the drawing of a coin from a purple Crown Royal bag.

(You can read more about the entire saga in my piece Big Election Theft in a Little Town from October 31.)

But it’s much harder to steal an election when the victory margin is so much bigger and Tuesday night proved that as Malloy handily won a seat on the Irvington Board of Trustees by a wide margin over her Republican rivals. Joining Malloy on the Board will be Democratic running-mate Pat Ryan who also collected more votes than the Republican candidates vying for the two open seats.

Living about three miles from Irvington and having gotten to know and respect Erin Malloy a lot over the last year, I was very saddened to hear that her sister, Kathleen, had died of cancer just three weeks ago.

"Her husband told me how proud she was of me," she Malloy of her sister, during her victory speech Tuesday night. "She knew I was running again, and she was really happy that I was doing that."

Typical of the grit that we have all become accustomed to seeing in her, Malloy persevered for the remainder of the campaign and was rewarded with large voter turnout and a clear mandate for her leadership.

But is there truly justice given that Dennis Flood occupies Erin Malloy’s office as Mayor and that Malloy had to win again – this time as a Village Trustee – to gain her rightful spot in the town’s government?

Yes, there is.

The results Tuesday mean that Democrats will now have a 3-2 edge on the Board, reversing a lengthy GOP hold on Irvington. As for Malloy, she may not be Irvington’s Mayor, but she, along with Ryan and previously-elected Democratic Trustee Nicola Coddington can now control the village’s agenda and effectively neuter Flood’s ill-gotten “win” from last year.

And what about next year, when it’s time for Irvington to again have a Mayoral election?

While many are hoping it will be time for another Malloy-Flood smackdown, my thought is that it’s not going to happen. Flood already received his political two-minute warning last year when it took a game of chance to seal an election that he had legitimately lost. With a year to serve on the same board with the razor-sharp Malloy, Flood’s advisors may want to point him toward the GOP Election Thief Hall of Fame in 2007 and just call it a career.

Cheers to new Irvington Trustee Erin Malloy. Sometimes the good guys do eventually win.