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Two petitions thrown out in Montgomery County

July 23, 2011
By JOHN R. BECKER , The Leader Herald

The Leader-Herald

FONDA - Montgomery County election officials have invalidated the nominating petitions of two candidates, including a would-be opponent of the incumbent Palatine town supervisor.

Brian D. Sweet, who is seeking re-election and would have faced Charles J. Dillenbeck in a Republican primary, filed an objection to Dillenbeck's petition, saying Dillenbeck doesn't live in the town of Palatine.

Election commissioners also invalidated the petition of Megan Barnes, Republican candidate for 2nd Ward alderman in the city of Amsterdam. Election commissioner Terrance Smith said a group of Republicans carried petitions on behalf of Barnes. When that happens, the candidate must file a certificate accepting or declining the nomination. Barnes did not, and that made her petition invalid, Smith said.

Another petition, however, survived a challenge. County Democratic Party Chairwoman Bethany Schumann-McGhee challenged the Democratic Party petitions of William D. Wills, former city supervisor and alderman, who is running for mayor of Amsterdam. Wills faces a Democratic Party primary against incumbent Mayor Ann Thane and a Conservative party primary against former Mayor Joseph Emmanuele III.

Election commissioners ruled the objections invalid, so Wills' Democratic Party petitions still stand, Smith said Friday.

"Mr. Wills is not the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party," Schumann-McGhee said Friday. The party endorsed Thane.

The Republican Committee of Amsterdam's 2nd Ward also filed a "right to ballot" petition, Smith said. Democrat Jeffrey Stark is running unopposed for 2nd Ward supervisor, but the "right to ballot" petition allows Republicans to write in a name during the primary election; the winner of the write-in race would face Stark in November.

Sweet said he filed the objection to Dillenbeck's petition because Dillenbeck is not a legal resident of the town of Palatine.

"[Dillenbeck] doesn't live in my town," Sweet said. "He lives in the town of Mohawk. He has property in my town, but it's not his residence."

Sweet said he wouldn't have minded running in a primary.

"I'm not afraid of competition," Sweet said. "If he lived in my town, I would welcome the challenge."

Dillenbeck said election officials are treating him badly.

"The Board of Elections is not helping me," he said. "They're not giving me a fair shake. They're doing everything they can to keep Sweet in office."

Dillenbeck's petition lists his address as 167 Krutz Road, which is in the town of Palatine. In the telephone directory, however, his address is listed as Hickory Hill Road, Mohawk.

In any case, Dillenbeck said Friday he will launch a write-in campaign.

Dillenbeck said he realized his election petition contained two mistakes, but that shouldn't have caused the whole thing to be invalidated. One signer put ditto marks in the "address" column because her signature was directly below her husband's. Another listed an address of Nelliston, when the petition called for a town address.

Election Commissioner Jamie Duchessi said either mistake would have caused only the one signature to be thrown out, not the whole petition. But other problems led to the invalidation of Dillenbeck's petition.

On all three pages of Dillenbeck's petition, the witness statement was not completed or signed, Duchessi said.

"Whoever carries the petition has to sign the witness statement," he said. "It can be the candidate or someone else registered in the same party."

The witness statement acknowledges the signers are qualified to vote in New York state and enrolled in a specific party, and that all signatures on the petition are authentic. The witness statement carries the same legal weight as an affidavit; any intentionally false statement is a crime.

Dillenbeck's petition also listed the position he sought as "Palatine Bridge town supervisor." Palatine Bridge is a village within the town of Palatine.

No Democrat filed a petition to run for Palatine town supervisor. Independent petitions can be picked up at any time from the Board of Elections and must be filed between Aug. 16 and Aug. 23.

John R. Becker covers Montgomery County news. He can be reached at montco@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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