WATERLOO — The Fourth Department Appellate Division Court in Rochester has unanimously dismissed the appeal of a lower court ruling filed by Casey McDonald against the Seneca County Board of Elections.
The four-judge panel heard oral arguments Thursday morning and considered written briefs before issuing its decision later in the day.
McDonald, a Romulus resident, filed an order to show cause on April 18, seeking to overturn three rulings by Election Commissioners Carl Same and Tiffany Folk. The rulings denied McDonald’s objections to the designating petitions for multiple seats on the county Conservative Party Committee, denied his objections to the designating petitions of Lee Davidson of Lodi for member of the state Republican Party Committee from the 132nd Assembly District and invalidating his own petitions as a candidate for the seat being sought by Davidson.
McDonald withdrew his challenge to the Conservative Party petitions at the April 30 oral arguments.
On May 1, State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Doyle dismissed the show cause order on the other objections. In oral arguments, Christopher Lucchesi of the county attorney’s office said McDonald failed to meet requirements for proper service of the show cause order on Same within the 14-day period and he did not serve papers on Davidson and Thomas Fox, parties to the litigation.
Doyle agreed with the county attorney’s office.
McDonald appealed Doyle’s ruling to the Appellate Court.
In a press release, McDonald said he is considering whether to seek permission to appeal further to the state Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. He said he will decide by Monday. He said the election law appeals process is very fast and the Court of Appeals will hear election law matters on June 7.
“I made plenty of mistakes. Five judges with vast legal backgrounds and over a century of experience grilled me on my errors and ruled against me. It was a remarkable, edifying and humbling experience,” said McDonald , noting that he represented himself in the appeal and is not a lawyer.
He still insists the Board of Elections “broke a few rules” in invalidating his petitions and ignoring his objections to Davidson’s petitions.
“Politics is a marathon, not a sprint. The prize of good government is too sweet to let a failed appeal discourage continued effort,” McDonald said.
Ettman said the ruling was expected in light of Doyle’s findings. “I would be surprised if the Court of Appeals agrees to hear a further appeal,” he added.
Same and Folk issued a joint statement after the court ruling, saying they are grateful to the Appellate Division for affirming the lower court decision.
“Mr. McDonald impugned the integrity of this board more than once in his comments. A 4-0 decision against the plaintiff is about as definitive as it gets. This board did its job as a ministerial agency charged with the responsibility to process designating and nominating petitions,” they said.
“Mr. McDonald only has himself to blame for his own missteps,” they added.