Contact Us

Vescera, Zecca Fighting To Validate Election Petitions

James Zecca and Frank Vescera, with attorney James Walsh review signatures deemed invalid by the Oneida County Board of Elections. On near side of photo, Oneida County Election Commissioners Rose Grimaldi, Russell Stewart and assistant Oneida County Attorney Raymond Bara. August, 4, 2014 (Jeff Monaski, WIBX)
Jeff Monaski, WIBX

The dispute over Democratic petitions collected by current Utica Councilman Frank Vescera and former city councilor Jim Zecca remains unresolved following several hours of reviewing signatures Monday.

Oneida County Supreme Court Justice Norman Siegel will likely rule on Tuesday about the validity of roughly 150 signatures which are still being challenged by the Oneida County Board of Elections.

Vescera and Zecca are each looking to force a primary against a pair of incumbents already endorsed by the city Democratic party: Vescera against incumbent Utica Council President Frank Meola, and Zecca against incumbent councilor-at-large Jack LoMedico.

They collected over 800 signatures and thought they had far exceed the required number, based on an email from Oneida County Democratic Commissioner Russell Stewart who said they needed just 500 petitions, they said.

For various reasons, BOE officials had invalidated over 200 of those collected by Vescera and Zecca.

James Walsh, representing Vescera and Zecca, believes many of the signatures still in question will ultimately be counted.

Jim Zecca and Frank Vescera listen to attorneys and Justice Norman Siegel discuss the process of validating their election petitions on Monday August 4, 2014. (Jeff Monaski, WIBX)
Jeff Monaski, WIBX

”We have found a lot of signatures that were of valid voters from the Board of Elections that had moved or not notified the board of their new addresses. But, they’re still registered voters, so they’re gonna count,” he said.

The Board of Elections will work to cross reference registration information and provide it to Judge Siegel so he can make a determination about whether the individual who signed the petition is a registered Democrat, and whether they live in the city.

How Many Do You Need?

Before the process of validating signatures began, Judge Siegel made a ruling on the number of petitions each candidate needed.

The two potential challengers have said they were misinformed by commissioner Stewart, via email, that they needed just 500 registered Democratic voters to sign. And, Walsh argued further in court – citing a case that dates back to the 1970’s in Ramapo, NY – that because the city of Utica is contained entirely in one New York State Assembly District, and a candidate only needs to collect 500 party signatures to run for the assembly, that 500 is the required number.

However, Siegel ruled that State Election Law requires a candidate in a city the size of Utica to obtain 1,000 signatures, or 5% of the number of registered party voters in the city, whichever is lower.

In this case, that puts the magic number at 708, the judge ruled.


Best Of WIBX950

Recommended For You

Best Of The Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for IBX INCENTIVE CLUB quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive IBX INCENTIVE CLUB contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.