Early trip to court in Congressional race

Dieterich challenges Tonko’s third-party petition signatures

— 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.

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NY20thMom 3 years ago

It is so sad that a man like Paul tonko, who has been in political office for well over 30 years, does not feel the laws apply to him. This is exactly the problem which lifelong politicians and why we need to vote them out. Best of luck to Bob Dieterich for taking on big money, out of touch politicians like Paul Tonko. We need more citizen legislators like him!


ConstitutionDoesMatter 3 years ago

Election laws have to be followed. This ruling should be a no brainer. Tonko has to lose the Line.


NYmom 3 years ago

Unfortunately stories like this are no longer surprising. Cheating has become commonplace. NY-20 wants honest politicians, not people who think the rules only apply to other people. The ends do not justify the means.


Truthseeker 3 years ago

Congressman Tonko should know better -- his campaign should know better -- anybody should know better! Even brand-new beginning level amateurs know better than to prepare petitions incorrectly and then expect that nobody will notice it! The board of elections are literally bursting with information, and I've never read anything in it that suggests that a campaign is supposed throw as much mud on the wall as it can to see if it will stick! It is time to vote out the old timers like Paul Tonko.


Follow_The_Law 3 years ago

Sad??? It's not just sad, it's un-American and a new trend of servants from all three of OUR branches of government. This trend, whether intentional, conspiratorial, or not, has resulted in a collective attempt (and increasingly successful one at that) to take over our government as per our great American republic rules of law and also per 18 USC §2385.

The people must rise and take back our government, hopefully through peaceful means.

I grew up as a Democrat and I am appalled at what they have become as we watch them act like we are their subjects, just as Hitler did.

This is serious. We must remove these imposters (acting as if they are our servants) TODAY!


TeddiSmith 3 years ago

Election laws and rules should be followed by all. If Tonko did not get enough legal signatures on his petition to run under the Independence Party, then Tonko's name cannot appear on the ballot under the Independence Party line. Simple!


Follow_The_Law 3 years ago

The laws are no brainers. The problem is that many, not just a few, judges truly believe that they are empowered to do as they please. The reason is that they no longer have anyone to answer to (no honest oversight). We The People have the power though to remove them from office without the need of an election when they act as if they are taking over by applying their own laws.



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