Pablo Fonseca, spokesperson for Mayor Roque, said the signatures were discounted because they did not come from registered voters.
An additional challenge to those signatures of registered voters has the potential to reduce that number further, Fonseca said.
Wiley and his allies brought petitions to Town Hall on Sept. 18, asking to recall Roque, Fior D’Aliza Frias, Caridad Rodriguez, and Ruben Vargas. Wiley and the four others make up the town’s five-member board of commissioners. (In the mayor/commissioner form of government, Roque is a mayor and commissioner at once.)
Wiley called for a recall in August, 2012, after Roque and the commissioners voted to remove him as commissioner of public safety and other issues.
This rejection came after Roque was declared not guilty of conspiracy to hack into a recall Roque website in 2012.
Of the 6,350 signatures submitted to recall Frias, only 3,486 were accepted. Of the 6,412 signatures to recall Rodriquez, only 3,607 were accepted. Of the 6,493 signatures to recall Roque, only 3,820 were accepted. Of the 6,426 signatures to recall Vargas, only 3,603 were accepted.
Based on the last election, which saw 21,030 voters come to the polls, Wiley needed to collect 25 percent or about 5,257 signatures of registered voters.
Wiley said he has 10 days to correct any deficiencies in the process.
At that point, the clerk would set a date for the recall election, which could be in December, but most likely not occur until after the New Year in January or February.
When first starting the campaign in 2012, Wiley said he invested $50,000 of his own money into his campaign to run against Roque in a recall election. Wiley hopes to replace Roque as mayor.
This is the second recall election Wiley had taken part in. Ironically, he was part of a failed effort by Roque four years ago to unseat then Mayor Sal Vega.
Wiley said those accepted in the current recall are about 700 to 800 more than when Roque tried to recall Vega, and that the rejection sometimes included groups of names due to technicalities that had nothing to do with the signatures themselves.
“If there were blank pages in the back of a number of pages, the clerk rejected those pages along with those that had signatures on them,” Wiley said.
In some cases, all the information on each pages was not filled out, which his workers intend to correct. He said his team will look back at the affidavits to provide additional information that will allow the clerk to accept signatures that may have been hard to read.
“When we went to court with the last recall we got a lot of our signatures back,” Wiley said, predicting that this will happen again. “We have some work cut out for us, but we’re not quitting. Last time, we came up only 14 signatures short after we went to court. We only need to make up about 1,400 to recall Mayor Roque, maybe 1,500 to 1,600 for the others. We will correct what we can correct in the ten days we have. After that we’ll go to court. We’re not quitting on this.”
Fonseca said the Mayor Roque is focused running the city.
“He wants to work towards lowering taxes, redoing the parks and roads,” he said. “He is not concentrating on politics. He is very grateful for his victory in court and concerned about his son’s future, but he has a job to do in West New York, and he is going to do that.”