Quinn Explains a Voluntary Process

Someone who attended Speaker Christine Quinn’s press conference yesterday was kind enough to send over this transcription of her explanation of the new, voluntary certification process for incoming Council members. (Newly sworn-in member Mathieu Eugene, who couldn't take his seat the first time he won election because he couldn't demonstrate that he met residency requirements, opted not to participate in the voluntary certification.)

Here's Quinn:

“In an effort to make that determination, we created a process, a voluntary process, where an individual could sign a form that would basically serve as an affidavit. In that affidavit, you would swear and attest, by a punishment of perjury, that you meet the requirement of the State Public Officers Law. Also voluntarily, we asked that you provide us with documentation backing that up. We always, based on the requirement the Attorney General gave us, had – and have – the right and ability to conduct our own independent investigation to confirm whether or not an individual meets the requirement of that law. We had hoped – and hope whenever we have a new member – that they will voluntarily comply, sign the form, and give us the information.

"Dr. Eugene complied with some of our requests, not all. He did not sign the affidavit form. He did present us with documentation that clearly indicated that he is over eighteen. He gave us documentation that clearly indicated that he was a resident of this district prior to the second special election. There's nothing to indicate, we do not believe that he was ever a violator of the Civil Service Law. He provided us with some information as it related to his citizenship status, we did not believe that information was sufficient, we conducted an independent investigation and have confirmed that he is a citizen and therefore meets all of the thresholds of the State Public Officers Law."

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"It's voluntary in the sense that I can't legally force him to sign it or not. Why he chose after the first election to not do anything as it relates to not signing the form and back out of the seat as opposed to putting me in a position where I would have to have made a determination as to yes or no, is a question you'll have to ask him."

Eugene had said signing the affadavit would violate his rights.

“I believe that signing the affidavit was a clear violation of number 615 of the Voting Rights Act of New York City,” he said. “And I respectfully refused to sign it, because I didn't want to be in violation of these rules."