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Cockburn Challenging BOE Decision on Validity of Her Candidacy

MONTGOMERY- A decision handed down by the Orange County Board of Elections disqualified Susan Cockburn, a Democratic candidate for Montgomery Town Supervisor from appearing on the ballot this November for being a single signature short. In an action filed in Supreme Court this week, Cockburn is challenging the board’s decision.

In April, Republicans challenged the petitions filed by Cockburn claiming that they contained more than 120 invalid signatures. A minimum of 240 valid signatures are required for a candidate to appear on the ballot for supervisor.

On April 28, the Board of Elections held a hearing to review the challenge. The board issued a determination, which read in part, “Upon review of the petition, it was found two hundred thirty-nine (239) signatures were found to be valid. Therefore, the petition does not contain the requisite number of signatures required for the designation sought, and is invalid.” The determination was signed by both elections commissioners, Republican Courtney Canfield Greene, and Democrat Louise Vandemark.

Cockburn’s attorney, Rebekah Nellis Kennedy, furnished an extensive response that contained 20 affidavits from voters who signed Cockburn’s petitions. Kennedy expressed confidence about the strength of the case.

“The objections that led to the invalidation of Susan’s petition were incorrect and obviously politically motivated,” said Kennedy. “The Board ruled that Cockburn’s petition has 239 valid signatures, only a single signature shy of the 240 signatures required. Legally, the Board should have taken into account the many notarized affidavits from voters and witnesses which explained the petitions further, and affirmed the authenticity of every signature. We are confident that Susan will prevail in court and she will be placed on the ballot for Montgomery Town Supervisor in November, as the voters of the Town of Montgomery intended.”

Cockburn, who previously served as supervisor, is seeking the office after it was vacated by Brian Maher, who left at the end of last year for a seat in the State Assembly. If qualified to appear on the ballot, Cockburn would face Montgomery Village Mayor and County Legislator, Steve Brescia, who is the Republican candidate. Brescia would be required to step down as a legislator if he wins the Supervisor spot.

On Thursday, an order to show cause was issued by State Supreme Court Judge David Squirrell. An appearance is scheduled for Thursday, May 11 in Orange County Court.

Source: Mid-Hudson News

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