Three political candidates filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state Supreme Court seeking to revise the Nov. 8 general election ballot that omitted their names from the newly created Alliance Party line.
The Republican and Democratic commissioners for the Schenectady County Board of Elections said state election law prevents them from putting a candidate’s name on the ballot a third time for an independent line. They have instead included the Alliance Party emblem above each candidate’s name on the Republican line, which is Row B on the ballot.
Filing the suit are Peter Guidarelli, Richard Patierne and Phillip Tiberio. Guidarelli and Patierne are Republicans running for the Schenectady County Legislature in District 1, which encompasses the northern half of the city. Tiberio is a Republican running for City Council.
The three candidates’ names are also appearing on the ballot under second lines: Guidarelli under the Conservative Party, Patierne under the Independence Party and Tiberio under the Conservative Party.
Judge Barry Kramer is scheduled to hear arguments in the suit Thursday morning.
Guidarelli said the “Board of Elections’ failure to list our names on the Alliance Party line is a slap in the face to over 2,000 registered voters who signed our petitions to create the Alliance Party.”
He added: “Very simply, there is no legal or practical basis for the decision of the Board of Elections to leave our name off of the line.”
Democratic Elections Commissioner Brian Quail said the board followed state election law in constructing the ballot for the general election. “We consulted with the state Board of Elections to determine if the interpretation we used was still accurate. On a bipartisan basis, the state Board of Elections advised us that our interpretation was correct,” he said. “Candidates cannot appear a third time with an independent body.”
Guidarelli said the county Board of Elections used an antiquated statute that applied to a time when voting was done mechanical machines. Voting is now performed using optical scanning devices.
“We are saying optical scanning devices allow for all the room necessary to accommodate our names. Our argument is that under election law, accommodations should be made to allow the candidate’s name, emblem and political designation, that these should be boxed in,” he said.
Quail said the ballot for the optical scanning device is smaller than that used for the mechanical machines. He said the lawsuit has prompted the board to delay plans to mail out 400 absentees ballots to residents of the city of Schenectady and caused it to remove a link on the board’s website for military voters to obtain ballots.
Quail said there is no “drop-dead deadline” to get the absentee ballots out, other than getting them as soon as possible. However, should Kramer rule in favor of the three candidates, the board would have to redo the ballot.
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Categories: Schenectady County