(CITE AS: 65 N.Y.2D 954, 483 N.E.2D 1151, 493 N.Y.S.2D 1019)
In the Matter of Lillian JONAS et al., Appellants,
Otto VELEZ et al., Constituting the Board of Elections
of the City of New York, et al., Respondents.
Court of Appeals of New York.
Aug. 28, 1985.
Application was brought to invalidate a petition sheet desig
nating a candidate for the public office of borough president in
the Democractic Party primary election. The Supreme Court, New
York County, Martin Evans, J., granted the application to in
validate the petition and directed the board of elections to
strike the candidate's name from the ballot. Appeal was brought.
The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, reversed, deeming the
designating petition valid. Petitioners appealed.
The Court of Appeals held that alteration of subscribing wit
ness' statement, which was unexplained and uninitialed, invali
dated the petition sheet, despite fact that alterations resulted
in corect information and despite fact that numbers inserted were
smaller, rather than larger, since it does not unduly burden
designating petition process to rquire that a subscribing witness
whose statement has been changed initial the
change and explain the reason for it.
Order of the Appellate Division reversed.
JOHN C. KLOTZ and Kathryn E. Freed, New York City,
Saul Rudes, New York City, for Seymour Friedman, respondents.
OPINION OF THE COURT
The order of the Appellate Division should be reversed and the
judgment of Supreme Court, New York County, reinstated, without
Essential to the integrity of the petition process is the
subscribing witness's statement authorized by Election Law '6-132
and particularly that portion of it which contains the total
number of signatures on the petition sheet to which it is append
ed. We have, therefore, consistently held that alteration of the
statement which is unexplained and uninitialed will result in the
invalidation of the petition sheet (Matter of Sheldon v. Sperber,
45 N.Y.2d 788, 409 N.Y.S.2d 1, 381 N.E.2d 159; Matter of Klemann
v. Acito, 45 N.Y.2d 796, 409 N.Y.S.2d 9, 381 N.E.2d 182, affg. 64
A.D.2d 952, 408 N.Y.S.2d 563; Matter of Nobles v. Grant, 41
N.Y.2d 1048, 396 N.Y.S.2d 180, 364 N.E.2d 844, affg. 57 A.D.2d
600, 394 N.Y.S.2d 20). The fact that the alterations here re
sulted in the manifestation of correct information, or that the
numbers inserted were smaller, rather than larger, as in Matter
of Berger v. Acito, 64 A.D.2d 949, 408 N.Y.S.2d 564, lv. denied
45 N.Y.2d 707, 409 N.Y.S.2d 1025, 381 N.E.2d 167), does not
remedy the legal deficiency (see, Matter of White v. McNab, 40
N.Y.2d 912, 913, 389 N.Y.S.2d 359, 357 N.E.2d 1014). It does not
unduly burden the designating petition process to require that a
subscribing witness whose statement has been changed initial the
change and explain the reason for it (see, Matter of Roman v.
Sharpe, 42 N.Y.2d 986, 987, 398 N.Y.S.2d 410, 368 N.E.2d 33; cf.
Matter of Granciov. Coveney, 60 N.Y.2d 608, 611, 467 N.Y.S.2d
195, 454 N.E2d 535).
WACHTLER, C.J., and JASEN, MEYER, SIMONS, KAYE, ALEXANDER and
TITONE, JJ., concur in memorandum.
Order reversed, etc.