IF ANYONE should know how to correctly fill out election forms, it's Democratic candidate Dennis Lee.
For two years, Lee worked as chief deputy to City Commissioner Stephanie Singer in an office in charge of elections, voter registration and helping candidates adhere to local, state and federal election laws.
So when Lee, who resigned as chief deputy in November and then launched a bid to win a seat on the three-member City Commissioners' board, appeared yesterday before Common Pleas Judge Chris Wogan to argue that he shouldn't be thrown off the ballot because he made a mistake on an election form, the judge wasn't buying it.
The mistake? He "forgot" to put his city job on his statement of financial interests, a form that every candidate is required to complete.
"I wasn't trying to hide it," Lee said. "I totally forgot. I totally forgot."
"Are you telling me that you forgot that you worked for the city commissioner?" Wogan questioned inside a small courtroom on the sixth floor of the Board of Elections, on Delaware Avenue near Spring Garden Street.
That wasn't the only problem with Lee's nominating petition. Lee submitted 56 pages of voter signatures to get on the ballot. A notary failed to sign each of those pages or what's called a City Candidate's Affidavit.
Wogan said Lee's arguments "were entirely without credibility." With that, the judge signed an order to remove Lee from the ballot for the May Democratic primary.
Lee was one of 12 candidates whose nominating petitions have been challenged in court. Candidates don't usually challenge an opponent's petition directly. Instead, a voter who is aligned with the opponent files the challenge.
In addition to Lee, the judge tossed Larry King, a candidate for city sheriff, off the ballot last week after he not only failed to show up for the court hearing but fell short of the 1,000 signatures needed to run for citywide elected office.
City Council candidate Archye Leacock, seeking to fill Councilwoman Marian Tasco's seat in the 9th District - which includes Cedarbrook, East and West Oak Lane, Fern Rock and Melrose Park - was expected to withdraw from the race after he came up 35 signatures short of the 750 he needed for a district race.
As of late yesterday, Leacock had yet to officially withdraw, according to Timothy Dowling, supervisor of elections for the city commissioners. A supporter of state Rep. Cherelle Parker, who hopes to win Tasco's seat, had filed the court challenge to Leacock's petition.