IN RE: Michael VENDITTO

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IN RE: Michael VENDITTO, appellant, v. John E. BROOKS, et al., respondents.

Decided: September 08, 2016

REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., CHERYL E. CHAMBERS, SHERI S. ROMAN and SYLVIA O. HINDS–RADIX, JJ.

In a proceeding pursuant to Election Law § 16–102, inter alia, to invalidate a petition designating John E. Brooks as a candidate in a primary election to be held on September 13, 2016, for the nomination of the Women's Equality Party as its candidate for the public office of New York State Senator for the 8th Senatorial District, the petitioner appeals from a final order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Driscoll, J.), entered August 11, 2016, which, after a hearing, denied the petition, inter alia, to invalidate the designating petition and, in effect, dismissed the proceeding.

ORDERED that the final order is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.

Contrary to the petitioner's contention, the Supreme Court properly denied the petition, inter alia, to invalidate the signatures on the designating petition that were witnessed by notary public Kevin R. Johnston, Esq. (see Election Law § 6–132[3] ). The notary public testified that he introduced himself to each signatory, and told each one that he testified that he introduced himself to each signatory, and told each one that he was a notary public and that his or her signature had to be notarized. In addition, he explained to them what they were signing, and that by signing, they were affirming the truth of the statement printed on the designating petition. The notary public further testified that the signatories affirmed the truth of the statement on the designating petition, and acknowledged what they were doing. The court's credibility determinations, finding that the notary public was credible, and crediting his testimony over that of the signatories to the extent they conflicted, were supported by the record (see Matter of Felder v. Storobin, 100 A.D.3d 11, 17, 953 N.Y.S.2d 604). Since the court had the advantage of hearing and seeing the witnesses, its assessment of their credibility is entitled to substantial deference (see Matter of Finn v. Sherwood, 87 A.D.3d 1044, 1045, 930 N.Y.S.2d 20; Matter of Harris v. Duran, 76 A.D.3d 658, 659, 905 N.Y.S.2d 777; Matter of Drace v. Sayegh, 43 A.D.3d 481, 482, 844 N.Y.S.2d 314). Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly found that the oath was administered in a form “calculated to awaken the conscience and impress the mind of the person taking it in accordance with his [or her] religious or ethical beliefs” (CPLR 2309[b]; see Matter of Bonner v. Negron, 87 A.D.3d 737, 738, 929 N.Y.S.2d 170; Matter of Liebler v. Friedman, 54 A.D.3d 697, 863 N.Y.S.2d 719; Matter of Imre v. Johnson, 20 Misc.3d 1139 [A], 2008 N.Y. Slip Op 51800[U], *11 [Sup Ct, Nassau County], affd 54 A.D.3d 427, 863 N.Y.S.2d 473), such that the notary public substantially complied with Election Law § 6–132(3) (see Matter of Finn v. Sherwood, 87 A.D.3d at 1045, 930 N.Y.S.2d 20; Matter of Kutner v. Nassau County Bd. of Elections, 65 A.D.3d 643, 644–645, 888 N.Y.S.2d 65; Matter of Liebler v. Friedman, 54 A.D.3d at 697–698, 863 N.Y.S.2d 719).

The petitioner's remaining contention is without merit.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly denied the petition, inter alia, to invalidate the designating petition and, in effect, dismissed the proceeding.