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Challenges to Dyster’s, other Falls Dems’ petitions dismissed

The Niagara County Board of Elections has dismissed challenges to nominating petitions of Mayor Paul A. Dyster and two City Council candidates seeking the Democratic line in September’s primary election.

The board’s decision keeps Dyster, the Democratic incumbent, as well as Council candidates Alicia M. Laible and Ezra P. Scott Jr., on the primary ballot, though the matter will be challenged in court next week.

The challenges made to Dyster’s petitions were brought by supporters of Councilman Glenn A. Choolokian, who is also seeking the Democratic line in the mayor’s race. Laible’s and Scott’s joint petition was challenged by Todd M. Stopa.

Dyster’s petitions were challenged on multiple fronts, including that pages were improperly numbered and came with purportedly invalid witness statements. Laible’s and Scott’s also had a page-numbering issue and no cover page, the challenge alleged.

These types of issues with petitions, described as “technical” by Niagara Falls Democratic Committee Chairman Gordy Stewart III, are allowed to be corrected within three days of the challenge, and they were, Stewart said.

While there were some signatures invalidated by the board because they came from unregistered voters, those types of removals are common and there were relatively few of them, Stewart said.

The parties that brought the challenges have filed suit against the Board of Elections. The cases will be heard in State Supreme Court in Niagara Falls on Thursday, said Republican Elections Commissioner Jennifer Fronczak.