Court Rejects Republican Appeal, Upholds 2-Vote Victory by Stewart in Orangetown
BY BILL DEMAREST
NYACK – The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court on Friday supported a Rockland judge’s ruling that gives Orangetown town Supervisor Andy Stewart, D-Nyack, a two-vote victory in his 2013 bid for re-election.
The court, based in Brooklyn, rejected an appeal filed by Walter Wettje, R-Pearl River, after state Supreme Court Judge Victor Alfieri had tossed out six of the final 12 absentee ballots to be counted in the Stewart-Wettje race. With that decision, Wettje went from having a 36-vote lead on election night to being two votes behind Stewart.
At 5:47 p.m. Friday, a spokesman for Wettje’s campaign confirmed that the candidate’s appeal had been rejected. Additional details on the court’s decision were not yet available.
At around 9:30 p.m. Friday, the Rockland County Democratic Committee posted a message on Facebook celebrating a victory by Stewart.
“The Appellate Division affirmed Judge Alfieri’s decision. Andy Stewart is the current and next Supervisor of the Town of Orangetown! Thank you all for the support, positive thoughts, kind words, prayers, and love. I am so proud of Supervisor Stewart!”
Stewart, based on Friday’s decision, would begin his second term as town supervisor in January.
Since the Nov. 5 election, the outcome has focused on a complete counting of votes cased on Election Day and then on hundreds of absentee ballots filed with the Rockland County Board of Elections. A review of challenges by both sides led to a series of hearings, which including court testimony by voters and an usual court session in which all involved went to a voter’s home to take testimony.