The Appellate Division, overturning a state Supreme Court decision, has restored the write-in Conservative primary in the first congressional district.
In a unanimous decision, the four member panel Wednesday said those seeking to derail the petitions “failed to meet their burden of establishing that the signatures on the petition...which were witnessed by notary public canvassers...should have been invalidated on the ground...they received compensation in excess of that authorized by...law.”
The court found even if there was such an error it is “is unrelated to the genuineness of the signature” and does not violate the ban on per signature payment.
Chris Cox, who circulated petitions to wage the write-in campaign, known as an opportunity ballot, said the ruling “puts the choice back in the hands of the people where it belonged.”
Cox’s campaign obtained 850 signatures (554 were required) to qualify for the ballot. But last week, State Supreme court Justice Thomas Whelan threw out the petitions finding that a number of canvassers did not properly administer a required oath to those signing petitions.
Rob Ryan, spokeman for Randy Altschuler, who the Conservative Party designated as its nominee, said, "We are disappointed by today’s decision... and we respectfully disagree,” noting the appeals court did not even address the oath issue . “We believe that was an error,” he said, adding the campaign will ask the state’s higest court, the Court of Appeals, permission to hear the case. “We remain confident we will be victorious.”
“The decision is little odd,” said Edward Walsh, Suffolk Conservative chairman. But he added if the appeal does not work out, “We’ll just win the primary, its as simple as that.”