Schenectady trio lose battle for Alliance Party ballot line
SCHENECTADY Three Alliance Party candidates lost their appeal Friday, and won’t appear on the Alliance Party ballot line.
The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court ruled 5-0 to keep three of the Alliance Party candidates off the party line because those candidates already had two established party lines.
The unanimous result would also appear to hinder any further appeal to the state’s highest court, where permission is needed to file an appeal, attorneys said.
Other Alliance Party candidates, including co-founder and mayoral candidate Roger Hull, will appear on that line, as they have only one other line beside the Alliance line. The appeals ruling upheld a lower court ruling that the third ballot line for candidates Peter Guidarelli, Richard Patierne and Phillip Tiberio went against state election law forbidding a candidate from appearing on an independent line after already being listed with two established parties.
The justices heard arguments Friday morning and ruled that afternoon.
Tiberio said he was disappointed by the ruling. He noted that he began running as an Alliance Party member. Now he won’t appear on the Alliance line. Instead, he’ll have an Alliance marker on another line.
“I was really hoping to go back on that line because that’s the line I started with,” he said.
Now, he said Alliance Party voters will have to look at different parts of the ballot to find him and the other two affected members.
Guidarelli and Patierne are Republicans running for the Schenectady County Legislature in District 1, while Tiberio is a Republican running for City Council. Guidarelli and Tiberio are also endorsed by the Conservatives, while Patierne is appearing on the Independence Party line.
It is this mishmash that Alliance Party attorneys hoped to avoid by trying to argue around a rule meant to avoid a cluttered ballot.
Alliance Party attorney Michael Brockbank said Friday’s ruling creates ballot confusion, not ballot efficiency.
“It just doesn’t make common sense,” he said.
“What they’re doing is they’re driving the law to the absurd result.”
The greatest irony, Brockbank said, is that if Hull had won endorsement by a second established party, he wouldn’t have appeared on the line of the party he helped create.
Schenectady County Attorney Christopher Garder, whose office represented the other side of the case, the county Board of Elections, said the initial interpretation was made after bipartisan consultation with election lawyers at the state Board of Elections.
He said they were not surprised by Friday’s appeals ruling and they believe it was the correct result.