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March 26, 2014

Malone Town Councilor facing 4 misdemeanor charges

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“I was totally blindsided by all of this, and all I know is I’m not guilty.”

Cox declined to comment and referred all questions to County Democratic Party Chair Kathy Fleury, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Scharf was among several people who carried nominating petitions in July 2013 with the names of two people from each of the town’s 10 election districts who were nominated to serve on both party committees.

Petitions must contain signatures from at least 5 percent of the eligible party voters in their own election district.

Election Law states it is the responsibility of the person carrying the petition to verify the signatures and each person’s eligibility to sign in a certain district.

DEPOSITIONS

Anyone can file an objection to a petition within three days of it being handed in to the county, and the person raising the objection has six days to specify what signatures may be invalid.

Questions were raised about petitions Scharf carried that sought signatures nominating Hugh Hill and Jean Pond on one and Donald Merrick and Deborah Merrick on another.

The misconduct charges filed by the DA’s Office state that Scharf presented a designating petition to the Board of Elections with a candidate’s name written in but crossed out and replaced by another name “after one person signed the petition.” 

As well, it is alleged, the name of a candidate was lined out and the district number changed from 5 to 7.

The charges involving the alleged district-number changes are based on the investigation and depositions from Christopher LaBrake and Donald Merrick, the paperwork states. Supporting depositions for the allegation of crossed-out names came from Julie Sweet and Hugh Hill.

CALLS IT HARASSMENT

Wylie said names and district numbers were reportedly scratched off the petitions and others substituted for them, and his job was to probe whether those changes occurred before or after the signatures were collected.

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