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Confusion regarding candidates’ filing clarified

NORTH EAST — The political party North East United, which has put forth two candidates this election season, has been charged with not filing its status as a political party before an Oct. 7 deadline. (The two candidates are John Merwin for town supervisor and Dave McGhee for town council.) Instead, the party allegedly registered as a party last week, following a letter to the editor written by town Supervisor Dave Sherman supporter Anne Veteran, which appeared in the Oct. 27 Millerton News.“As of this writing, North East United has yet to file any of the required financial documents with the Board of Elections,” stated Veteran, adding that the state’s Board of Elections mandates political parties spending as much money as North East United must report its spending and contributions in dollars and kind.According to John Conklin, spokesperson for the New York State Board of Elections, once political parties raise $1,000, they must file with the Board of Elections, but not before.“Once they raise or spend more than $1,000, they should be filing disclosure documents with the state,” Conklin said. There are three deadlines to do so: Friday, Oct. 3; Friday, Oct. 28; and Monday, Dec. 5 (a post-election filing). All three deadlines must be met if the $1,000 threshold has been reached. If the deadlines are not met, the Board of Elections can file legal action resulting in a $500 fine. If amends are made and the party subsequently files (within a certain time frame) the lawsuit is typically dropped.That said, Conklin warned that North East United might have been within the proper timeline when it filed on Oct. 28, if it had not met the $1,000 threshold until that time.A call to North East United Treasurer Robert Trotta revealed that the independent political party had actually sent in its filing on time for the Oct. 7 deadline, but because he was out of town at the time, the assistant treasurer signed the paperwork, and that’s where the trouble started.“We did file [by the Oct. 7 deadline]. I was in Florida at the time. I’m the treasurer and I had the assistant treasurer sign it and they [the Board of Elections] returned it to us,” Trotta said of the filing documents. “They wanted my signature. It was timely but they wanted the treasurer’s signature.”

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