Village of Pelham clerk rejects petition to move elections to November because of page numbering

The petition calling for the Village of Pelham to hold a referendum on moving its elections from March to November was rejected because the pages weren’t numbered, according to a letter written Thursday by Village Clerk Terri Rouke. The reason given was the same as one of the two provided Wednesday by Pelham Manor Village Manager John Pierpont when he invalidated a petition seeking the same type of referendum.

“New York State Village Law Section 9-902(8) requires that ‘the sheets of such a petition shall be numbered consecutively beginning with number one at the foot of each sheet,'” wrote Rouke in the letter. “The petition you submitted was not numbered. Because the petition is not in the form required by the statue, as a matter of law, I must, and hereby do, determine that the petition is not valid.” 

The paragraphs in the Village of Pelham and Pelham Manor letters describing the page numbering issue are almost identical. However, Pierpont also invalidated 162 of the 532 signatures on the Pelham Manor petition, taking the valid total to 370, below the threshold of 400 needed to put the matter on the November ballot. Rouke did not invalidate any signatures.

“I am dismayed that village officials saw fit to disallow hundreds of signatures from village voters on the basis of a technicality—that the petitions were not numbered in numerical order,” said Liz Massie, a petition organizer. “I expect the mayor and the board of trustees to do the right thing  by respecting the voice of their constituents and vote to put this measure on the November ballot.”