The Rockland County Board of Elections invalidated Preserve
Rockland-Clarkstown’s petitions for Clarkstown races on Friday claiming that
pages were incorrectly numbered. The group, which had hoped to get three
candidates on the ballot for the November 5th general election, filed
a verified petition on Wednesday appealing the ruling to the New York State
Supreme Court. Oral arguments on the board of elections’ decision will be heard
on Tuesday, Sept. 3
The petitions, which were collected by the Clarkstown Preservation Society, under Preserve Rockland-Clarkstown, contained 2,788 signatures. According to Democratic Elections Commissioner Kristen Stavisky the decision to invalidate was based on technicalities not challenges to signatures or witnesses. The petitions supported the candidacies of Brian Moran of New City for supervisor, John Noto of New City for council and Dennis Malone of Congers for highway superintendent.
“They had sequencing issues,” she said on Wednesday. “They mis-numbered their petitions in about four different spots. That is a fatal error.”
Stavisky said there is no option to rectify the errors.
“They don’t have the opportunity to correct sequencing issues,” she said.
The attorney for Preserve Rockland-Clarkstown disagreed with that opinion. Tom Humbach of Pearl River said the verified petition filed with the court states that the mistakes are correctable.
“The verified petition filed with the court says that the alleged mistakes that were objected to were curable problems and also that Preserve Rockland-Clarkstown did not cause the problems, that they were caused by the Board of Elections in the first place,” he said.
Humbach said Preserve Rockland-Clarkstown contends that the Board of Elections erroneously switched the cover sheets of the two separate volumes and based on that mistake invalidated the petitions. He said the group’s position is that the cover sheets and volumes were submitted correctly and that state elections law allows for these types of issues to be corrected but that a representative of the group, who met with elections officials on Monday, was blocked from doing so.
The board of elections is also looking into objections filed against the first three volumes of petitions filed by Preserve Rockland on behalf of Ed Day for county executive. Two general objections were filed on August 16th and specific objections submitted four days later. One general objection was filed against the second set of three volumes of petitions on August 23rd and the specific objection is due in the board office by 5 p.m. on Thursday or must be postmarked by midnight Thursday.
Stavisky said a decision could be made next week. The petitions contain approximately 6,000 signatures from across the county.
The board of elections previously denied petitions during this primary season for Dagan Lacorte and Vladimir Leon who were both seeking to run in the Democratic primary for county executive.