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WARD VOTE SUPPORTERS WIN ROUND IN COURT

In Amherst, supporters of a district form of government -- in which each of the six Town Board members would represent a specific portion of the town -- won a key court ruling Thursday.

Justice Delores Denman, presiding judge in the state's Rochester-based Fourth Department Appellate Division, told the Amherst Town Board to follow the procedures to put the issue on the ballot in time for the Nov. 3 election.

Advocates had turned in enough petitions, which went unchallenged, to put the measure on the ballot, but Amherst Town Clerk Susan Jaros and the county Board of Elections have not moved to do so. Earlier this week, Amherst lawmakers said they planned to appeal a judge's ruling that paved the way for a public vote on the measure.

The town was told by Justice Denman to plan for a hearing Oct. 19 on its appeal. In the meantime, however, the town must vote to put the issue on the ballot.

This way, if the town loses the appeal, the proposal can appear on the ballot, said Dennis Ward, the town's Democratic committee chairman and proponent of the measure.

Ward had warned the town would have to hold a special election if it did not move quickly to put the issue on the Nov. 3 ballot.

If the town wins the appeal, the county can always cancel the vote on the measure.

The Town Board has scheduled a special meeting Monday to direct the town clerk to send the proposition to the Elections Board.

Opponents said they would follow the judge's instructions but hope they could block the measure from appearing on the ballot by winning the appeal. If unsuccessful, they promised to campaign against the proposal during the election season.

"It's irresponsible to put this out on the ballot again," said Supervisor Susan J. Grelick. "It has been rejected three times. The voters have said three times they don't want this form of government. In my mind, it doesn't further good government."

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