Appellate Division Affirms Lower Court Decision Throwing Out Democrat Claim to Reject Testa Petitions
The Appellate Division; Second Judicial Department of The Supreme Court of the State of New York unanimously upheld a lower court decision to throw out a claim brought by Peekskill Democrat Chairwoman, Marina Ciotti on behalf of County Legislator candidate Duane Jackson, against the Westchester County Board of Elections that looked to have the court reject the petitions legally obtained by County Legislator John Testa for the Republican and Independence Parties. The Independence Opportunity to Ballot petitions forced the September 10, 2013 Independence Party Primary Election where Legislator Testa waged a write-in campaign to obtain the Independence Party line in the November General Election. This will now clear the way for the Board of Elections (BOE) to finish the counting of all votes and certify the results of that primary.
When the lower court had dismissed the case brought against the BOE in August, Ms. Ciotti decided to appeal even though the court decision was clear cut and based on the claim being time-barred. In its “Decision and Order”, the Court wrote, “Since it is undisputed that this proceeding was not commenced within 14 days after the last day to file…as required by Election Law Section 16-102(2), the Supreme Court properly dismissed the proceeding as untimely.”
“The Peekskill Democratic Party and my opponent are determined to prevent a fair and open election process,” stated Legislator Testa. Their attempt to disenfranchise the voters of Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown was resoundly rejected by the lower court. To continue their quest to eliminate the voters constitutional right of having the opportunity to vote for a candidate of their choice is unconscionable,” added Testa.
Peekskill Republican Party Chairman, Vincent C. Vesce, said, “The beat goes on and on with the local Democrat Party. They seem intent on not allowing the election process to go forward unless they get their way. Even well after the time period elapsed for issuing simple challenges, they continued to waste the Court’s time and the taxpayer’s money on frivolous lawsuits such as this. To be honest, if the shoe was on the other foot and we had lost a claim in the lower court for similar reasons, I would have been embarrassed to bring such an appeal.”