Editor's Note 2:24 p.m.: Dagan Lacorte's statement has been added to this article.
The Court of Appeals in Albany issued a decision Thursday
morning upholding the ruling of the Appellate Court to remove Dagan Lacorte as
a candidate in the Democratic primary for Rockland County executive. The
Appeals Court ruling was decided by a seven to zero vote.
The brief explanation included with the decision read, “The order of the Appellate Court Division should be affirmed without costs. The Appellate Division properly determined that the validating petition did not sufficiently specify which determinations of the board petitioner claimed were erroneous.”
Lacorte commented on Twitter, “I’ll have a statement at 2 p.m. on the Court of Appeals affirming the procedural decision knocking me off the ballot for the Democratic primary.” (The statement has been added.)"Thank you to my supporters who worked tirelessly for ten months -- inspired by the opportunity to bring change to Rockland's government. You demanded real solutions to the problems facing our community. And you wanted a leader who would unite us- black and white, religious and secular-- from South Nyack to Sloatsburg.
I am deeply disappointed by the decision of the New York Court of Appeals invalidating my petitions on a procedural issue despite the Supreme Court's clear and unambiguous finding that we had more than the required number of Democratic signatures.
New York's outdated petition laws make it hard for candidates without party backing to get on the ballot and they are enforced by party-appointed Boards of Election. These laws are a relic of Tammany Hall-style politics and I will fight to change them.
I will be listening carefully to the remaining candidates and hope they speak to the concerns of the beleaguered taxpayers who supported my candidacy."
The validity of signatures on Lacorte’s petition was challenged by David Fried’s campaign. A series of court appeals and challenges has seen Lacorte’s name being removed and reinstated on the ballot over the past few weeks.
Fried released a statement about the necessity of being able to challenge petitions.
"Without specific challenges, Boards of Election in New York cannot rule any submitted petition invalid, obligating campaigns to audit their own petitions as well as the petitions of their opponents," said Fried. "Without challenges, any would-be candidate would be free to defraud the public."
He also thanked Lacorte for his candidacy and ideas.
"He is a laudable public servant, with the best interests of his constituents at heart. His years of service to the Village of Suffern have been a success. Many of his ideas in this race -- like a conservancy for Rockland’s parks-- are worthy of further debate and discussion. I look forward to Mayor LaCorte continuing to contribute to the conversation of how to move Rockland forward."
After the Appellate Division ruling, the county Board of Elections sent out absentee ballots that did not include Lacorte’s name. Democratic Elections Commissioner Kristen Stavisky said military ballots were uploaded again on Monday because the initial distribution had listed Lacorte.
While the ballot issue involving Lacorte may be ending, another could be starting. The Clarkstown Preservation Society filed petitions under the Preserve Rockland name to place candidates on the ballot for the November general election.
Stavisky said three objections have been filed to the first two volumes of the three volumes of petitions filed. Specifications of those objections are due today. Stavisky said 1,434 signatures were needed and more than that were filed.