On August 29, 2013 NYS Supreme Court Justice Robert DiBella dismissed the frivolous lawsuit brought by local Democratic Party leaders on behalf of candidates for Westchester County Legislator in their attempt to disenfranchise voters in six legislative districts and prevent Republican candidates from appearing on the ballot for the November election.
The lawsuit challenged Republican candidate petitions from districts 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 and 14. One of the plaintiffs heading the challenge was Peekskill Democratic Party Chairwoman Marina Ciotti on behalf of candidate Duane Jackson who is challenging John G. Testa in the District 1 race. The other incumbent challenged was Bernice Spreckman from Yonkers. The remaining districts named contain challengers projected to have a strong chance of unseating incumbent Democratic legislators.
Judge DiBella made it clear that the proceeding was an attempt to “circumvent” the law and was “untimely” and “oxymoronic.” He also considered the action to be “without merit.” Additionally, the candidates whose petitions were being challenged were never properly notified of the filing of the suit.
“I have had candidates in the past do some very unsavory and underhanded things to try and get elected,” County Legislator Testa remarked, “but I have never had an opponent actually try to stop the election from taking place so they could win by default,” added Testa. “For the local Peekskill Democratic Party to have a hand in such a despicable attempt to deny voters their constitutional right to vote is unconscionable. They should be ashamed of themselves,” Testa said.
Peter Tripodi, candidate for County Legislator in District 9 said, “Since my involvement in local politics I have never witnessed such a pathetic attempt to disenfranchise voters. With games like this being played too often by some political operatives, it’s no wonder that many people my age don’t vote or get involved in politics. Despite such distractions I am continuing to take my case to the voters of District 9 showing that my opponent walked out of voting on the budget and how she has been a pawn of party politics since being elected to the legislature.”
Peekskill Republican Committee Chairman, Vincent C. Vesce, added, “ With Westchester’s citizens concerned with so many important issues that affect their daily lives, it is hard to imagine that there are political leaders such as Peekskill’s Democratic Chairwoman who are determined to quash open and fair political debate by filing absurd lawsuits that would essentially nullify an upcoming election. By dismissing this case, justice has prevailed and the voters in Westchester will be all the better for it.”