continued Britt contested the claim and said he was “confident” the appointed commissioners of deeds, who collect signatures for petitions, would be upheld.
Tonko’s campaign collected 1,176 signatures, above the required 871, and the state Board of Elections tossed out 48.
When Judge Barry Kramer heard arguments on Wednesday, May 9, he validated six signatures that had previously been struck by the Board of Elections, Britt said.
The lawsuit also seeks to disqualify signatures collected outside of the cities of Schenectady, Troy and Albany from respective commissioners. Also, it claims some of the voters were not properly sworn in.
“Paul Tonko has spent the majority of his adult life making laws for others to follow,” Dieterich said in a statement. “All we are asking is that a sitting Congressman follow those same laws when seeking elected office.”
Britt said it is normal for some signatures to be invalidated, which is why campaigns typically gather more than required, and he said Tonko’s campaign didn’t deliberately break the law.
“There undoubtedly were one or two minor errors in collecting the signatures and those were not intentional or on purpose,” Britt said.
He said the message appears “resoundingly clear” that Independence Party voters support and endorse Tonko.
“[Tonko] doesn’t ask if an idea is a Republican or Democratic idea, he asks if this is a good idea and will it help the people I represent,” he said. “That’s the sort of approach to governing that I think Independence parties are looking for — someone that will actually solve problems instead of perpetuating them.”
Dieterich said he received “a lot of support” from the Independence Party voters.
The newly redrawn 20th Congressional District includes Albany and Schenectady counties and portions of Montgomery, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties.
In Schenectady and Albany County there were more than 15,500 enrolled Independence Party voters as of April 1, according to data from the state Board of Elections. Out of that total, there were 13,511 active voters, or around 87 percent. There are 293,198 registered voters within those two counties, where enrolled Independence Party voters account for 5.29 percent of the voter pool.