Gary Popkin

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Gary Popkin
Popkin-Gary 2005.jpg
Libertarian Party of New York
2006—April 25, 2009
Predecessor: Werner Hetzner
Successor: Sean Sherman
Personal Details
Birth: (1938-05-17) May 17, 1938 (age 85)
New York City, New York, USA
Education: Polytechnic University in Brooklyn
Occupation: Computer systems professor
Party: Libertarian Party
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Gary S Popkin is a Libertarian Party activist and retired professor. He has run for various political offices, including for the United States House of Representatives in 1994 and 2020 and for the New York State Assembly in 2018. Popkin was also the Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of New York from 2006 to 2009. In the 2000s, he produced Hardfire, a Libertarian talk show which was broadcast on Brooklyn Community Access Television.


Popkin received his PhD in operations research from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn in 1991. He then worked as a professor at New York City College of Technology from 1970 to 2004[1]. In the early 1980s, Popkin wrote several college textbooks on the COBOL programming language.


Popkin's political activity started in the early 1990s, initially with the Republican Party. In a special election in February 1991, he ran as the Republican candidate for New York City Council District 29 against Democrat Ken Fisher. He also ran as a Republican for New Your State Assembly in 1992 and for 11th US Congress.

In 1999 he was elected to Community School Board 15[1].

Running as a Libertarian in 2005, he ended up in a court case to get reinstated to the ballot for Brooklyn Borough President. He won the first round, only for the election board to take it to the Apellate Division, which fortunately affirmed Popkin's victory[2]. He appeared on the ballot and got 2143 votes. He has also run for New York State Assembly (2018)[3], New York City Public Advocate (2019)[4], and New York's 9th congressional district (2020)[5].

Positions he's served in with the LP include treasurer of Libertarian Party of New York and on the state committee.


Popkin was the producer of a show on Brooklyn Community Access Television called Hardfire.

Popkin Petition

The following is an account of the Popkin petition, written by Gary Popkin.

"I ran for Brooklyn Borough President in 2005 as a candidate of the Libertarian Party. Also running as Libertarians were candidates for Mayor of New York City, Public Advocate, Comptroller, and Queens Borough President. We put all five candidates on one petition sheet and I got 3,000 petition signatures from people in Brooklyn by getting 100 per day for 30 (non-consecutive) days over the 43-day petition period. The incumbent Borough President, Marty Markowitz, was very unpopular in some neighborhoods because of his involvement in the Barclays Center project and the threat of the use of eminent domain.

The Board of Elections did not like the form of my petition and threw me off the ballot. None of the signatures was challenged, nor anything else about the petition. I sued the board in State Supreme Court, the lowest court in New York State, and won. My attorney, Gary Sinawski, was not enthusiastic about my case. He is now dead. The board appealed the decision to the Appellate Division. I argued the case there myself. Why was this such a big deal to the board? Why didn't they just let it go? The board argued to the appellate judges that if this form of petition were allowed to stand, it would make too much work for them, to sort out the signatures attributable to Brooklyn Borough President from those attributable to Queens Borough President. I argued that the petition followed the Election Law exactly. I could go to Coney Island to get signatures before a concert. If someone said, "I'm from Staten Island" I say, "OK. sign, and your signature will count only for the citywide candidates." If a prospect was from Queens I could say, "OK, sign, and your signature will count for the Queens Borough President." At no time when I was collecting signatures did I misrepresent what the signature was for, and the board never charged me with any fraud.

The board also argued that a signer could not legally sign for Brooklyn Borough President and Queens Borough President. A signer could not be a resident of Brooklyn and Queens at the same time. I knocked down that argument by saying that some petitions routinely contain a congressional candidate, a candidate for State Senate, and one for State Assembly, and their districts can overlap in any ways. A signer need not live in all three districts to legally sign the petition. A signer needed to live in only one of the districts. The appellate judges agreed with me and unanimously affirmed the decision of the court below. You can see the appellate decision here:

You would think that would be enough for the board, but you would be wrong. The board asked the Court of Appeals in Albany (Albany, New York, the state capital) to hear the case but the court declined to do so. I was on the ballot. Within five minutes of the court decision, the state legislature made the form of the Popkin petition illegal. It is now not permitted to have on one petition sheet candidates for the same office in different districts, but some people continue to try. I heard a rumor that in the Bronx they once put all the candidates for City Council on one sheet, so wherever in the Bronx a signature was obtained it would count for some candidate or another."

Organizational Positions

Libertarian Party of New York
  • Treasurer (2006—2009)
  • Member, Interim State Committee (February 9, 2019—September 27, 2020)
  • Judicial District 2 Representative, State Committee (September 26, 2020—present)
Kings County/Brooklyn Libertarian Party
  • Temporary County Chair (2004—2006)
  • Chair (2009—2010)
  • Representative to State Committee (2011—2012; 2015—present)

Political Campaigns

  • United States House of Representatives, New York District 11, 1994
  • Brooklyn School Board, 1999
  • Brooklyn Borough President, 2005
  • United States House of Representatives, New York District 11, 2014
  • New York State Assembly District 52, 2018


  • Gary S Popkin, Arthur H Pike (1981). Introduction to Data Processing with BASIC. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-30091-6
  • Gary S Popkin, Arthur H Pike (1981). Introduction to Data Processing. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-29483-5
  • Gary S Popkin (1985). Introductory Structured Cobol Programming. Kent Publishing Company. ISBN 0-534-04566-9
  • Gary S Popkin (1986). Comprehensive Structured COBOL. Kent Publishing Company. ISBN 0-534-06216-4
  • Gary S Popkin (1987). Advanced Structured Cobol. Kent Publishing Company. ISBN 0-534-07788-9
  • Gary S Popkin (1993). Comprehensive Structured COBOL. Kent Publushing Company. ISBN 0-534-93270-3
  • Instructors Manual, Introduction to data processing, second edition (BASIC version also)


External links