A decision has finally been made regarding the District 16 race for Ulster County Legislature.
In a press release from Ulster County GOP Chairman Roger Rascoe, it was revealed that Ulster County Judge Christopher Cahill decided to leave Kathy Miller’s (GOP, C, IDP) name on the ballot in the District 16 legislative race alongside Tracey Bartels (D, WFP).
But that leaves one question unanswered: What will happen if Miller wins?
“If by chance [Miller] wins the election, she will not take office,” says Rascoe. “It is my belief that in that scenario, the County will declare the office vacant and in accordance with the County Charter, the County Legislature can make an appointment. We felt that we could not win a write-in campaign.”
Miller previously tried to drop out of the race on September 28 after the Hatch Act was invoked, which bars federal employees from running for office. Ashley Dittus, Ulster County Elections Commissioner for the Democratic Party, said she rejected Miller’s declination forms because they were filed after the July 17 deadline to withdraw. The Republican party pushed for Miller’s husband, Jim, to take her place on the ballot.
“The Republican Commissioner accepted [Miller’s] declinations and the subsequent substitutions, which were also filed incorrectly,” says Dittus. “As a result of our split decision, the Republican Commissioner refused to print ballots. Our Party Chair Frank Cardinale then sued the Board of Elections to get ballots printed and Supreme Court Judge Christopher Cahill found that my rulings were in line with the law and that ballots were ordered to be printed with Mrs. Miller’s name appearing as the candidate.”
Rascoe accused Democratic Chairman Frank Cardinale of advising them not to go to court to get Miller’s husband’s name on the ballot as a substitution as Miller’s job with the United States Postal Service would be at risk if revealed in court that she violated the Hatch Act. Dittus, however, says that the claims are not true.
“I took an oath of office as Commissioner to uphold the Election Law of New York and that is why I made the decision I did and I am happy that the courts validated that decision,” says Dittus. “Therefore, there is no truth to the claim that the Republicans have made and they bear all the responsibility in this situation. Firstly, for not vetting their candidate to ensure that her ability to be placed on the ballot wouldn’t hinder her employment and, secondly, to file the proper paperwork on time.”
During an impromptu meeting with Miller, her husband, and Gardiner and Shawangunk Republicans, it was decided that any campaign for the seat would be suspended, despite Miller’s name still being on the Nov 7 ballot.
By Jaspreet Gill