Judge Voids Every Astorino Petition in Independence Party of Westchester Primary

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Judge Voids Every Astorino Petition in Independence Party of Westchester Primary

August 12, 2013 - 18:31

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Judge J. Emmett Murphy of the Westchester County Supreme Court has invalidated all of the roughly 2,700 petitions filed by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to get his name on the ballot for the Independence Party of Westchester in September.

J. Emmett Murphy is a Democrat.

The petitions were invalidated after 45 members of the Independence Party of Westchester received summons to attend a hearing last week. All 45 members were thrown out of the party effected last April. Independence Party Designating Petitions were circulated from June 4th through July 7th and thus any petition signatures obtained in June and July are considered invalid.

Under New York State Election Laws, a county political chairman can hold hearings to challenge whether a member of the party is “not in sympathy with the principles of such party.”

Dr. Giulio Cavallo, chairman of the Independence Party of Westchester, who has previously endorsed Noam Bramson, called such a hearing.

The Astorino campaign will file an appeal to challenge the decision.

There are 16 Comments

Did Noam's Petitions qualify?

Does this mean there will be no Independence Party primary for County Executive?

Or does it mean that the Independence Party will not be running any candidate for County Executive?

Either way, Astorino's campaign is sinking fast.

Robert Cox's picture


I got a quick flash on the news just after it happened so more details will follow.

Only Astorino's petitions are impacted. I am not even sure a primary would be necessary if Astorino was not contesting the nomination. I would expect not.

Astorino will certainly appeal.

I find it hard to imagine that a judge would effectively disenfranchise 2,700 voters (about half of those who signed petitions). I also have to wonder how those 2,700 people will feel about Noam having their votes voided.

Time is of the essence here. Working backwards, they would still need to print ballots, and send out absentee ballots.

The JN is reporting that Robert DiBella was the judge. I guess if Noam can't lick 'em fair and square, he might as well to what he can to stack the deck in his favor. That's why he has a 5-2 majority on council so that he get Echo Bay approved and say "Wow, look what I did!"

The Democrats have a 5-2 majority on the City Council, because most New Rochelle voters greatly dislike the national and states Republican Parties, for good reason, and will not vote for Republicans locally if a Democrat is running for the office.

If the Democrats had bothered to run a candidate against Al Tarantino, the Democrats would now probably have a 6-1 majority.

I don't understand your logic. Noam didn't put the other Democrats on the City Council. It was the majority of voters who put all the Democrats on the City Council.

The same dynamics will play out this November for county-wide elections.

It's really about what the voters want or despise, and the national and states Republican Parties have ruined their brand name. Consider the three greatest Republican Presidents, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ike - none of them would even desire to be Republicans, let alone get elected President as a Republicans.

I don't care who is in government--Republican or Democrat. As far as I am concerned, they all had a hand in screwing up America. I just despise Noam Bramson because he is a lying snake who has the best interest of his political career in mind--not the people of Westchester. Furthermore, if he wins in November, and he probably will, it won't be because of what the majority of voters want. It will be because, as always, there will be a low voter turnout and those who do vote, will be the ones who have the most to gain by having him in office. The sad truth is, most people are fed up with government in general and don't even bother to vote because it only leads to business as usual and nothing gets done. Bramson is a prime example of a do nothing know-it-all who will ram his tax-hiking policies down the throats of the vast majority of Westchester residents who can't afford him or them.

If you think for a moment that he won't staff the county with his six-figure cronies, guess again. Maybe you'll be his shoeshine boy if you play nice. Otherwise, bend over.

I'm sorry to hear that you have such a low opinion of democracy, the American people, and the American form of government.

New Rochelle and Westchester have among the most progressive citizens in the country. The vast majority do not dispise government like you and a few others do.

When people are angry with how our government works, there is a large turnout of voters. If anything, the low turnout of voters in odd-numbered years indicates the voters are sufficiently satisfied with the status quo.

Most voters in this region of the country are willing to pay higher taxes for more and better government services. That's exactly why the northeast USA has a far better economy than the southern, mid-western and western areas of the country where the Tea Party predominates.



Here is a list of the 20 states with the lowest rates of unemployment based on the June 2013 BLS data. Tell me how many of those states would you categorize as "Northeast Progressive" ?

Unemployment Rates for States
Monthly Rankings
Seasonally Adjusted
June 2013

Rank State Rate

5 HAWAII 4.6
5 IOWA 4.6
8 UTAH 4.7
12 MONTANA 5.4
14 KANSAS 5.8
15 ALASKA 6.1
17 IDAHO 6.4
18 ALABAMA 6.5
18 TEXAS 6.5
20 MAINE 6.8

Most of those states are rural with small populations. Most of those states have moderate or low incomes. The Dakotas have large unemployed populations of Indians - perhaps the Reservations don't count when counting the unemployed.

I doubt you or most local people would really want to live in any of those states.

Texas, Virginia and Hawaii, being the exceptions. Virginia gets a lot of money from the Federal government from DC and military bases. Texas has several major cities and the oil industry, and Hawaii is Hawaii, a popular expensive tourist location, with a large under-employed / lowly employed indigenous population on its largest island.

Of course high employment is always good. Most of the USA is doing a lot worse than the east coast area from Virginia thru New England (RI excepted).

It might matter whether the Independence Party District Leaders removed, had in 2011, successfully petitioned themselves back in for another two year term as District Leader, ending after 2013 Primary day, per NYS Election Law. In that case, they could not be removed by the Independence Party Chair.

If they had not, and instead had been appointed as District Leader, by the Independence Party Chair (state or county or city/town/village ???), they could have been 'unappointed' by the Chair, if Independence Party rules permit.

One should always become District Leader via petitioning themselves in, every odd year, for the two year term.

However, if a District Leader represents an Election District within an Assembly District other than the Assembly District one is registered to vote in, then under NYS Election Law, that District Leader must be removed from his position, and can be appointed District Leader in an Election District within the same municipality and Assembly District as that person is registered to vote in.

Due to lot of confusion from recent redistricting, probably all the political parties had to remove (and reappoint) District Leaders. Failure to do so, where appropriate, could result in Independence Party District Leaders' Petitions for Astorino to fail upon challenge.

Of course, every Independence Party registered voter in Westchester, could collect Independence Party petition signatures for Astorino throughout Westchester, even if they are not District Leaders.

The real likely disaster in collecting Independence Party petition signatures, is if they were collected by Notaries rather than by registered Independence Party voters. Signatures collected by Notaries often fail. And minor parties, such as Independence, simply do not have enough active members to collect county-wide signatures, and generally rely heavily on Notaries, especially if two major candidates are vying for the same signatures.

Robert Cox's picture


The issue was not notaries.

There is was that there were 5 people on some sort of "receiving committee" and all of five them were among the 45 removed from the party effect April 2103 and thus their petitions gathered over the summer from those 5 were invalidated. As they received ALL of the petitions all of the petitions were invalidated.

I am not an expert as you seem to be but this was my basic understanding. I am willing to be educated on this further but I am not sure I care that much because I suspect this will be overturned anyway.

The Chair of a Party cannot remove the voter's party registration. That can only be done by the voter or the Westchester Board of Elections or the courts.

Any registered Independence Party voter in Westchester can collect signatures on a county-wide Independence Party petition, and can be named on the Petition's Committee.

The required form for these Petitions is described under NYS Election Law. I presume the Independence Party Chair, the two Commissioners of the Westchester Board of Elections, the Court and the attorneys of all parties involved, are fully aware of what is required of any Party Petition for Public Office under NYS Election Law.

I hope Astorino moves very quickly......the Appellate Division, Second Department is hearing election cases on August 13 (tomorrow).........and, if necessary, the Court of Appeals hears those from the Appellate Divisions on August 21!

Unfortunately the Appellate Division upheld the lower court's decision and the Court of Appeals denied the motion for leave to appeal to that court.

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shared a link.

RAW AUDIO: Phone call between Sam Zherka and Rob Astorino | The Journal News |
A recorded phone call between Independence Party member Sam Zherka, strip club owner and newspaper publisher, and County Executive Rob Astorino about efforts by a group of Astorino supporters to register with the Independence Party..

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RAW AUDIO: Phone call between Sam Zherka and Rob Astorino | The Journal News |

A recorded phone call between Independence Party member Sam Zherka, strip club owner and newspaper publisher, and County Executive Rob Astorino about efforts by a group of Astorino supporters to register with the Independence Party.