Equal Justice v Northern Manhattan

Judicial races are usually uneventful, preordained contests decided by party officials before they ever get to the voters. Except when one Democratic candidate (Vernice Powell) gets kicked off the ballot because of petitions and the other (Luis Nock) drops out for some unknown reason.

That’s what happened in one civil court judicial race in Manhattan. There are two positions to be filled, and three candidates.

The Democrat in the race is Rita Mella [corrected], who is guaranteed to get a million votes (or thereabouts) for having the party label and win one of the seats. But the last slot is a toss-up between Shari Michels and Kelly O’Neil Levy. They’re basically Democrats, but they’re running on party lines they created after Powell and Nock left the race.

Any voters who actually find Michels and Levy on the ballot will probably have to look at the name of their party to get some sense about who the heck they are voting for.

Michels is running on the Equal Justice Party; Levy on the Northern Manhattan Party.

So if nothing else, this election may determine a public relations questions that has long been debated by political consultants: how many votes is the name of your party worth?

– Azi Paybarah