Mistake keeps incumbent’s name off ballot

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 5:46 PM EDT
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TOWN OF HARRISBURG, New York (WWNY) - A paperwork error will keep a candidate’s name off the ballot for Harrisburg town clerk. Instead, a write-in campaign will have to be the way to go.

Current town clerk and tax collector Karen Bowen says she never thought omitting part of her title would invalidate her petition.

“I was a little frustrated because it was just a technical error, it wasn’t like I really did something wrong on the petition,” she said.

Bowen says she thought the tax collector position was implied the moment she wrote town clerk. Instead of having her petitions tossed, she hoped she could fix it.

“Basically there has to be a change of some sort to make it so the petitions go through,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Lewis County Board of Elections says it is clear the Harrisburg position Bowen is running for is town clerk and tax collector, and the omission of tax collector did make her petitions invalid.

Commissioners say there is a certain way to fill out the petition, in this case, an independent nominating petition.

“Our office gives a courtesy call to let them know that, yes, the petition was invalidated by our office and sometimes it gives them that extra time that they need to go get their signatures, and hopefully they file it and it would be valid,” said Lindsay Burriss, Democratic commissioner.

Bowen says she got a call, but it came after the deadline. She is now a write-in candidate and hopes other candidates stay more alert.

“Just make sure that your paperwork is right so that you don’t run into this issue,” she said.

There are no other candidates on the ballot.