By Fred Stabbert III
MONTICELLO September 4, 2001 Al Etkin planned on running for the District 9 legislative seat once held by Monticello attorney Stephen Kurlander.
But a challenge by Rock Hill resident Janice Hilton may keep Etkin off this Novembers ballot.
On Wednesday of last week, Hilton approached the Sullivan County Board of Elections and challenged Etkins independent party nominating petitions on the grounds that the witness statement was not filled out properly.
Etkin failed to write down the number of signatures per page contained in his 17-page petition.
Pages 2-17 were challenged by Hilton because they were not numbered correctly.
We upheld the law and answered all his questions, Election Commissioner Tim Hill said.
All petitions of independent candidates had to be filed with the board between August 14-21.
Etkin, nervous he may have forgotten something, returned to the Board of Elections 10 minutes after filing his petitions and tried to correct his error.
They allowed me to amend a copy of the petition but not the original, because it was already filed, Etkin said.
According to a Board of Elections official any mistakes on the witness statement is fatal. Its the most critical part of the petition.
Etkin needed 115 signatures to run on the independent line and had nearly 160.
Im going to appeal this, Etkin said from his Rock Hill home Friday afternoon. I have to appeal it before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
While most people tried to relax during the long Labor Day weekend, Etkin was trying to hire an attorney.
Its such a minor infraction, it should never knock a candidate out of the box, Etkin said.