Two independent candidates for Congress in New York’s 19th district, Diane Neal of Hurley and Dal Lamagna of Rhinebeck, are challenging the state Board of Elections’ decision last week that knocked them off November’s ballot.
According to the state BOE’s public information officer, John Conklin, 1,852 of the 4,181 signatures Neal turned in were ruled invalid, leaving the actor and comedian 1,171 short of the required 3,500. In Lamagna’s case, 1,592 of the 4,235 signatures he turned in were ruled invalid, leaving the inventor known as “Tweezerman” 857 short.
But there’s a twist — according to both campaigns, the BOE sent Neal the objections to Lamagna’s petitions and vice versa. According to Lamagna, this mis-service of papers should in and of itself get him and Neal back on the ballot. “We feel a lot of it has to do with technicalities,” Lamagna said Tuesday morning; arguing that if the BOE wants to remove them from the ballot because of such technicalities, the technicality of the papers “not being properly delivered” should render the board’s objections to the signatures null and void. Lamagna further noted that by taking him and Neal off the Nov. 6 ballot, “8,000 voters are being disenfranchised.”
According to a representative from Neal, she will be in court this week for her appeal of the BOE decision. Lamagna said his court date will be on Sept. 7. Challenges to the Neal and Lamagna petitions were filed by Rhinebeck Democratic Committee member Rima Liscum.
Petitions for independent candidate Luisa Parker of Callicoon didn’t make the 3,500-signature threshold, so she will not be on the Nov. 6 ballot for New York’s 19th Congressional District. On the ballot will be incumbent Republican John Faso of Kinderhook, Democratic nominee Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck and Green Party nominee Steve Greenfield of New Paltz.