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APPELLATE COURT REJECTS REPUBLICAN REQUESTS FOR VOTING MACHINE CHANGES IN FOUR TOWNS

A Republican effort to force a change in voting machine listings of GOP candidates in Amherst, West Seneca, Orchard Park and Clarence was unanimously rejected Thursday by a state appellate court.

The five-judge Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester refused to overturn rulings on the ballot dispute by State Supreme Court Justice Joseph D. Mintz, an enrolled Republican.

With the election only days away, GOP Elections Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr said ruled out a further appeal. "I think we're running out of time," he said.

During a half-hour hearing Thursday in Rochester, First Assistant County Attorney Alan P. Gerstman and Mark M. Jasen, attorney for the Democrats, told the appellate panel that the GOP ballot challenge came too late and required state approval.

Andrew B. Isenberg and Karla M. Corpus, attorneys for Mohr and the GOP candidates, unsuccessfully argued that the checkerboard ballot listings were illegal under state election law, which limits the number of lines for each race to the number of posts being contested.

Gerstman and Jasen countered that even if the GOP attorneys were reading the law correctly, the law would require approval of such a ballot change by both the Erie County Democratic elections commissioner and the State Election Commission.

Mohr said the checkerboard pattern on voting machines leaves GOP town board candidates in the four towns far away from fellow candidates and that candidates who end up in that ballot position never have won a race anywhere in the state.

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