Tag Archives: board of elections

DiPietro Fights to Remain on November Ballot #SD-59 #WNYVotes

24 Sep

I’m sitting right now in New York State Supreme Court, in Justice Drury’s part, listening to argument in the case involving state senate candidate in SD-59 David DiPietro.

There are two attorneys representing DiPietro, who is present with about 10 supporters in the gallery.  The plaintiff’s table has two lawyers up front and three behind, one of whom is a former (current?) Dale Volker staff member.

If successful, there may very well be a three-way race for SD-59 on the Republicanish side, with Cynthia Appleton the sole Democrat in the race.

In order for DiPietro to qualify for the ballot on an independent line he created, he needs 3,000 valid signatures. The NYS Board of Elections determined that he’s 423 signatures short, but staffers raised it to over 600, citing some sort of mathematical error.

The issue being litigated has to do with the rule that you can only sign one nominating petition for a particular race, and the first one you sign is the only one that counts. Evidently, some people who had signed someone else’s nominating petitions later changed their minds and, while they couldn’t sign DiPietro’s petitions, they thought the law held that they could carry the petitions and sign them as witnesses.

Attorneys for the State BOE and Pat Gallivan argue that recent changes to the law held that residency requirements for witnesses had been declared unconstitutional and changed in subsequent litigation, but that once you sign a petition, you can’t witness anyone else’s in the same race.

Attorneys for Dave DiPietro (Peter Reese and Jim Ostrowski) argue that the rule is inapplicable to carrying and witnessing a petition, and furthermore is a violation of the carriers’ first amendment rights to free political speech.

There is a case from 1983 being cited to stand for the proposition that once you sign, you can’t carry for someone else.  DiPietro’s counsel argues that it cites language that has been removed in the statute in 2009 and is irrelevant in light of recent changes.   Ostrowski asks for permission to brief this matter at 2pm and the judge granted him that opportunity.