July 7, 2011
Petition snafu trips up candidates
Errors force Democratic mayoral, sheriff, constable candidates to recanvass voters
An error on some designating petitions is forcing a handful of candidates and their volunteers to retrace their steps in getting signatures by the July 14 deadline.
The error affects both Cortland Democratic mayoral candidates, a pair of constables and Sheriff Lee Price.
The signatures are needed to get on the ballot for the primary elections Sept. 13.
Mayor Susan Feiszli estimated about 270 signatures — the work of about 10 volunteers — would be invalidated since the petitions listed her as running for “Democrat Mayor” instead of “Mayor.”
Feiszli said she found out last week when a member of the Democratic Executive Committee told her about the problem.
The committee held an emergency meeting last week to try to take all of the invalid petitions out of circulation and replace the signatures.
“My husband and I are doing the bulk of it,” Feiszli said, adding that they have spent the last four days retracing the steps of volunteers. “I feel awful for the volunteers who spent hours and days working on them, only for them to be invalid.”
Although only 167 signatures are needed for mayor, which Feiszli said she believes she already has, she said she generally tries to double that number to be on the safe side.
Alderman Brian Tobin (D-4th Ward), who is challenging Feiszli for the Democratic nomination for mayor, ran into a similar problem with his petitions.
Tobin said he drew up a revised petition to circulate within the first week of getting signatures, because he had concerns over the petitions. He said he had been told by members of the executive committee the original petitions were fine.
Tobin said he did not know how many petitions or signatures were carried for him that would be invalidated, but was confident he had more than enough signatures to be on the ballot for both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party, which has also endorsed him.
Both Feiszli and Tobin have helped carry revised petitions for Cortland Sheriff Lee Price and city Constables Russell and Mark Teeter, who were also affected by the error.
Cortland County Democratic Committee Chairman Dan Tagliente said he did not know how the mix up happened.
“There have been mistakes before,” he said. “I thought we had them all corrected.”
Tagliente said the committee is well on the way to getting enough signatures for each of the candidates, including Price, who needs 439 signatures to be on the Democratic line.
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