Updated 08/14/2012 06:15 AM
Lawsuit challenges petitions in Union
A lawsuit in the Town of Union could affect who is on the ballot this November. At issue, are signatures on the petitions of two Democratic town council candidates. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, the outcome will come down to a ruling by the State Supreme Court.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- With election season around the corner, both parties in the Town of Union are waiting for a different kind of result -- the outcome of a lawsuit.
“The candidates are on the ballot, the petitions are being challenged right now, but as of now they’re on the ballot and we anticipate they’re going to be there,” said Jim Testani, (D) Broome County Democratic Committee Chairman.
Republicans are questioning petitions by two Democratic candidates for town council. They have appealed the signatures to the New York State Supreme Court.
“When I petitioning, I make sure I count the number of people, indicate the number of people and before I put the witnesses down, I make sure everything is ok. This was not the case and this is why I’m appealing,” said Michael Schafer, (R) Broome County Legislator.
Testani added, “Unless the court reverses what the commissioners have already done, our candidates will remain on the ballot. It’s out contention this is frivolous. If you look at the court papers there’s not even an implication things were done wrong, things were done sloppy, but it happens.”
If the signatures in question are found invalid, candidates Bill Tastle and Frank Palmisano will not be on the ballot. They submitted a petition with 551 signatures. 500 are needed to run for town council, leaving them little room for error if any signatures are thrown out. Broome County Democratic Committee Chairman says mistakes were made, but residents should be the ones deciding this election.
“Elections should be settled by people, not by judges. If these candidates are ruled off the ballot there will be no election for a four-year-term to town council — completely taking the people of Union out of the picture for the next four years,” said Testani.
But Broome County Legislator Michael Schafer says candidates should be held accountable.
"I believe in democracy. I believe people have the right to be on a ballot,” said Schafer. “However, they have to follow the rules and if they don't want to follow the rules then why do we both to have petitions?"
A debate that will be up to the Supreme Court to decide. The court case is set to be heard this Wednesday. Both parties expect a quick decision.