March 10, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Evie Hantzopoulos, a city council candidate who is running for the 22nd District Council seat, announced Wednesday that she has gathered approximately 900 signatures– well over three times the amount needed to get on the ballot.
Hantzopoulos was set the task March 2, like her competitors, to get 270 valid signatures by March 25 from registered Democrats in her district. She generated the signatures needed to get on the ballot in less than a week with the aid of more than 50 volunteers.
The large number of signatures provides her with a cushion should the validity of her signatures be challenged – a tactic sometimes used by candidates to get competitors off the ballot.
Hantzopoulos, whose district covers Astoria as well as sections of East Elmhurst, Woodside and Jackson Heights, is looking to fill the seat currently occupied by Council Member Costa Constantinides, who is term-limited. The Democratic primary takes place on June 22 and she is running against Leonardo Bullaro, Tiffany Caban, Catherina Gioino and Nicholas Velkov.
She said that extra care was taken to get the signatures given COVID-19. Volunteers, she said, reached out to their neighbors or got signatures at outdoor locations, she said.
“We were clear to our volunteers to put safety first and exercise caution while petitioning and interacting with the public,” the long-time Astoria resident said, citing concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.
However, Hantzopoulos said that she was against petitioning for this election cycle.
“I would have preferred that petitioning be canceled during a pandemic but at least the threshold of valid signatures required was reduced by the governor,” she said. Gov. Cuomo signed a bill in January that reduced the number of signatures by about 70 percent for this year’s election.
In February, Hantzopoulos was part of an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by a group of political candidates from across the city – including about a dozen Queens candidates – who sought to stop the signature requirement given COVID-19.
Hantzopoulos enters the race having served on Community Board 1 since 2010, where she chairs the Housing Committee and serves on the Land Use Committee. She works as the Executive Director of Global Kids, a Manhattan-based non-profit that supports underserved youths.
Hantzopoulos said she is looking forward to hitting the campaign trail and hearing from voters.
“I can’t wait for the opportunity to continue to listen to and speak with voters through upcoming forums, debates, and outreach, and to campaign as safely as possible during COVID-19.”