Angelo failed to get rid of Judge Bender and he is going to fail this time. His influence isn't what it used to be.
Angelo's interest in local politics isn't what it used to be either.
Opportunity To Ballot petition invalidated
By DAVID L. SHAW email@example.com Aug 8, 2017
WATERLOO –– There will not be a Working Families Party primary election for Seneca County district attorney in September.
State Supreme Court Justice William Taylor ruled from the bench Monday, invalidating an Opportunity To Ballot petition filed in July. He ruled after hearing testimony and reviewing documents.
Taylor ruled that only one valid signature remained on the petition, which needs at least six valid signatures of Working Families Party members.
Taylor ruled after hearing testimony and reviewing documents presented by attorney Michael Burger, representing Working Families Party member and petitioner Shirley Sobczak of Waterloo and incumbent District Attorney Barry Porsch.
Porsch, a Republican, has the Working Families Party line. The Opportunity To Ballot petition would have allowed Joseph Sapio, his Republican primary opponent, or any other person, to have their name written in at the Sept. 12 primary. Porsch and Sapio will square off in the Sept. 12 Republican Party primary.
Testimony was given by Working Families Party members Domenick Paradise, Larry and Wendy Barnhart, Cynthia and Paul Hooper, Timothy Fitzpatrick and Teresa Gillotti. All seven confirmed that they signed the OTB petition. But Burger asked each one if the person soliciting their signature administered an oath or had them swear or attest that the information they provided was true. All seven said no.
Burger argued that state election law on petitions requires that the signature either be witnessed by a person or the signer be under oath or attest that the information they provide is true.
Otherwise, he said, the signatures are not valid.
Ruth Same, one of two county election commissioners, testified as to the accuracy of various documents filed with the elections office, including the Working Families Party OTB petition. Same testified that at least six valid signatures are needed. The Board of Elections upheld the petition, invalidating one signature because of a discrepancy in the address. The challenge included allegations of fraud, which the commissioners said was beyond their purview.
The petition was signed by notary public Angelo Bianchi, the former Seneca County Republican Party chairman. Several signers testified that the person seeking their signatures had a first name of Angelo, but they did not know the last name.
Peter Corning, attorney for the Working Families Party vacancy committee members Michael Hagadorn, Jennafer Heffernan and Melody Reynolds, said the three did not have a position on the matter. In fact, they did not know their names were put on the petition. County Attorney Frank Fisher, representing the Board of Elections, also took no position.
“Under law, the person obtaining signatures on a political petition must administer an oath or the signer must attest to the truthfulness of what they are signing,’’ Taylor said.”Here we have unrefuted testimony that the notary did not administer an oath or swear to its truthfulness, invalidating the petition. All seven testified credibly they were not put under oath or sworn,’’ he said. “The petitioners have met the burden of proof,’’ Taylor said.
The ruling comes as the board of elections faces a Friday deadline to submit the list of candidates for the Sept. 12 primary ballot printing.
Porsch issued a written statement after Taylor’s ruling.
“Angelo Bianchi was under a court-ordered subpoena to testify, but his lawyer advised the court that he went to Canada for a vacation,’’ he said.
“Our evidence showed that after Bianchi improperly obtained the signatures on the petition, he handed it over to the Sapio campaign and Joseph Sapio filed it with the Board of Elections,’’ Porsch said.
Porsch claimed Bianchi and Sapio are “close political allies.’’
“The three persons named on the petition as a committee to receive notices, through their attorney, filed a letter with the court stating that they had no prior notice that their names would be used on the petition,’’ he said. “The Working Families Party and myself are thankful that the Supreme Court Justice invalidated the petition filed by Sapio and restore integrity and honesty to the election process in Seneca County,’’ he concluded.