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Doheny surrogate files suit on Owens petitions


A supporter of Republican Matt Doheny has filed a lawsuit to get Democratic Rep. Bill Owens thrown off the Working Families Party line.
Don Lee, the Clinton County GOP chairman and an early supporter of Mr. Doheny's Nov. 6 election effort, says that a person collecting signatures to get on the WFP line didn't properly administer an oath to validate who was signing the petitions.
Here's how it works: If you want to get on a party's ballot, you have to collect a certain number of signatures from registered party members. Mr. Owens needed 60 signatures from the labor-backed party to get on its line. He got 94.
But Mr. Lee says that not enough of those are valid — including objections over improper addresses.
The state Board of Elections is set to review the petitions sometime this week, but it doesn't have standing to throw out petitions over concerns that an oath wasn't administered properly. Only a court can.
A hearing will be held on May 8 in the state Supreme Court in Saratoga County.
A private investigator looked into the petitions and found that 25 people either said that an oath wasn't administered or said that they didn't remember if an oath was administered, according to Mr. Lee.
There's also an outstanding challenge filed by a local Democratic activist against Mr. Doheny's Independence Party petitions. No word on a lawsuit there.
The importance of third-party lines is huge in close elections; and NY21 is sure to be close, indeed. Mr. Owens beat Mr. Doheny in 2010 by about 2,000 votes; he collected more than 2,000 votes on the WFP line that year. If he didn't have the line, it's reasonable to assume that he would have gotten many of those votes anyway, but you don't leave anything to chance when it's that close.

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