DI STEFANO v. KIGGINS

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.

Matter of James G. DI STEFANO, Appellant, v. Helen M. KIGGINS and Edward J. Szczesniak, as Commissioners of Onondaga County Board of Elections, and Joan K. Christensen, Respondents.

Decided: August 19, 1998

Before GREEN, J.P., and WISNER, PIGOTT, CALLAHAN and BOEHM, JJ.

Petitioner appeals from an order that dismissed his petition and ordered the Onondaga County Board of Elections to certify respondent Joan K. Christensen as the Independence Party candidate for the office of Member of the New York State Assembly for the 119th Assembly District.   Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the grounds that petitioner, who was not a registered member of the Independence Party, lacked standing to challenge the validity of the certificate of authorization for Christensen and that, in any event, the certificate of authorization, which incorrectly listed Christensen's Assembly District, substantially complied with the Election Law.

 The court erred in determining that petitioner lacked standing.   A nonparty member such as petitioner who challenges a certificate of authorization and asserts that he was entitled to the authorization thereunder is an aggrieved candidate under Election Law § 16-102(1).   Thus, petitioner has standing to challenge the validity of the certificate of authorization (see, Matter of Cane v. Mahoney, 40 N.Y.2d 819, 820, 387 N.Y.S.2d 567, 355 N.E.2d 796).

 The court properly determined that the certificate of authorization was valid despite the incorrect designation of Christensen's Assembly District because there was substantial compliance with Election Law § 6-120(3) (see, Matter of Venditti v. Sernoffsky, 207 A.D.2d 951, 617 N.Y.S.2d 654).   The typographical error constitutes “ ‘an innocent violation of some technical requirement having no logical bearing upon the underlying purpose of preventing fraud’[, which] should no longer ‘abort candidacies and disenfranchise voters' ” (Matter of Cozzolino v. Columbia County Bd. of Elections, 218 A.D.2d 921, 923, 631 N.Y.S.2d 82, lv. denied 86 N.Y.2d 704, 631 N.Y.S.2d 608, 655 N.E.2d 705;  see, Matter of Bonelli v. Bahren, 196 A.D.2d 866, 602 N.Y.S.2d 62).   That error is “neither a defect invalidating the certificate nor a matter presenting an opportunity for prejudice or possibility of fraud” (Matter of Hazell v. Board of Elections, 224 A.D.2d 806, 807, 637 N.Y.S.2d 530, lv. denied 87 N.Y.2d 808, 641 N.Y.S.2d 830, 664 N.E.2d 896).

Order unanimously affirmed without costs.

MEMORANDUM: