Republican candidate Rick Guy lacks the necessary signatures to qualify for the Republican primary in the 50th Senate District, a state Board of Elections hearing officer found Wednesday.
A hearing was held in Albany to review Guy's petitions. He submitted 1,381 signatures, 602 of which were ruled out by the state Board of Elections. That leaves him with 779 signatures — well below the 1,000 needed to be eligible for the primary ballot.
Guy's fate will rest with petitions circulated by his son, Joseph, who collected nearly 360 signatures for his father. An objection was filed challenging the validity of the signatures because Joseph Guy isn't a registered Republican.
To circulate petitions for a Republican candidate, for example, an individual must be enrolled with the GOP.
The state Board of Elections determined the petitions were invalid, but Rick Guy contends the signatures collected by his son should be allowed because Joseph Guy is a notary public.
Notaries public may sign designating petitions. However, state Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said Joseph Guy "did not include any information about his commission as a notary" as required by state election and notary laws.
Even if a judge sided with the argument that Guy should be accepted as a notary, Conklin explained that there's another issue: Whether he administered the mandated oath for each person who signed the petition.
"A judge could waive the notary information requirement and still invalidate the petition for failure to administer the oath," Conklin said. "This is an issue for the trier of fact. This has to be resolved in court."
The hearing officer's recommendation will be forwarded to the state board for review. The board will meet Aug. 8. The board usually approves the hearing officer's report.
If the board determines Rick Guy's petition is invalid, he will have three days to appeal the decision in court.
In an email to The Citizen, Guy said Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci — the designated Republican candidate in the race — has opened a court proceeding to invalidate his petitions if the state board rules in his favor.
"They are maliciously accusing us of fraud because they say Joey intentionally witnessed the 360 signatures he collected as a party member instead of in his capacity as a licensed notary," Guy wrote. "Seems they will say and do almost anything to keep us from having our say with the voters."
Guy is vying for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring state Sen. John DeFrancisco in the 50th district, which includes parts of Cayuga and Onondaga counties. Antonacci has DeFrancisco's support and won endorsements from the Cayuga and Onondaga GOP committees.
If a primary is necessary, it will be held Thursday, Sept. 13. If Guy is removed from the ballot, there won't be a GOP primary in the 50th district.