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Unfair campaign-practice hearing today in Hynes/Southworth race

The Town of Ballston's stormy election battle for town council seats was cranked up a notch Thursday when Patti Southworth filed an Unfair Campaign Practice Complaint against her opponent, Mary Beth Hynes.

A hearing panel for Fair Campaign Practices (FCP) for the Capital Region, Inc., will convene today to review the 11-point list of specific complaints from Southworth and make a ruling, which comes without any legal ramifications.

The League of Women Voters (LWV) established FCP in 1999 to hear candidate complaints of unfair campaign practices, and specifically, to promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and issue oriented campaigns, conduct campaigns openly and fairly, discuss issues, refrain from defamatory or misleading attacks on the character of their opponents, and not use campaign materials that distort the facts.

According to the LWV's FCP online handbook, members of the hearing panel have no power to compel anyone to stop doing what has found to be unfair. If the panel considers a complaint, it will release its findings to inform the public.

Southworth, who is running on the Democratic-Independent- Working party line, said Thursday she filed the complaint after reviewing a flyer sent to town residents this week from the town's Republican Committee.

(Hynes) has tried to skew events, and twist words around, said Southworth. "My campaign materials never mentioned her name. I truly believe this complaint is the only way to re-focus the campaign on issues without mud slinging."

Hynes, contacted Thursday, said her mailer was a comparison piece showing residents her experience versus her opponent's.

"I compared talk and results; (Southworth) has no experience and I do," said Hynes, a Republican appointed to fill the seat after Paul Farnan resigned last February. "The mailer is very fair. She's been an attendee at council meetings and that's all."

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