By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Thanks to a key mistake in the documentation they provided to the Board of Elections, four Delaware Town Board candidates won’t see their names on the Rural Heritage line just announced at a press conference this month.
Supervisor candidate Steve Lundgren and board candidates Dick Ried, Marc Dubrovsky and John Murphy lost that line after Callicoon resident and Delaware Republican Committee Chairman Gerald “Skip” Mudge filed an objection with the Board of Elections.
“Why I went over is I wanted to know who was running,” Mudge explained yesterday of his trip to the elections office in Monticello.
While looking through the documents, he noticed that on four of the seven petitions to run on the Rural Heritage line, the number of signatures per page was not penciled in at the required spot.
He filed an objection not as the Republican town chairman but as an individual.
While the lack of a signature tally may be a technicality, Mudge pointed out that state election law requires that figure be listed else the whole sheet of signatures is tossed as invalid.
“So I think it’s a pretty important spot to fill in,” Mudge explained.
The four candidates learned that the hard way.
“They misunderstood,” said Democratic Elections Commissioner Faith Kaplan. “They thought they didn’t have to fill that in, but it’s a fatal flaw.”
Thus 40 out of 66 signatures were ruled invalid by her and Republican Elections Commissioner Rodney Gaebel last week, dropping the number of valid signatures well below the required 42.
Two other signatures were also cited one for not being a registered voter, another for being registered at a different address than listed.
Due to the short period for submitting and challenging signatures, Lundgren, Ried, Dubrovsky and Murphy didn’t have enough time to correct the problem by gaining more valid signatures on properly inscribed petitions.
As a result, the four candidates will still be running this fall, but only on the Democratic line.
“We’re not whining or complaining,” Lundgren explained yesterday, having submitted a letter to the editor (see page 5A) admitting the mistake.
Though the letter deems the error a technicality rather than a “meaningful issue,” Lundgren and company are not attacking (nor even naming) Mudge.
“We’re committed to taking the high road in this,” Lundgren said.
He added that the group continues to support the Rural Heritage line even if it can’t run on it.