Objections filed in county clerk race — again

ELIZABETHTOWN — A general objection was filed Friday against the petitions of Essex County clerk candidate Kari Ratliff.

Ratliff’s petitions, which would allow her to run as an independent candidate on the Honesty ballot line in the Nov. 5 general election, were challenged by Chelsea Merrihew on behalf of incumbent clerk Joseph Provoncha. Merrihew is a title searcher in the county clerk’s office.

Merrihew did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. Provoncha said he was not involved in the challenge and said he had not viewed his opponent’s petitions.

The Essex County Board of Elections confirmed that Merrihew had filed the general objection Friday, which means she has until June 6 to file specific challenges to signatures. If that happens, the Board of Elections will then scrutinize each signature and either rule it valid or invalid. Signatures can be invalidated based on a number of factors. Among the more common are listed addresses or party affiliations that are incorrect, or signatures from people who aren’t registered to vote in the county.

An independent county clerk candidate must file at least 695 signatures.

“I’m feeling good about this. I feel we were very careful and thorough,” Ratliff said. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure that the voters have a choice when it comes time in November.”

She said she’s prepared to notify her attorney, Lake Placid-based Bryan Kennelly, if specific objections are filed before Thursday.

Ratliff was pushed off the Republican ballot line in April with a successful petition challenge that left her nine signatures shy of the 375 minimum required to force a primary challenge. Merrihew also filed that objection.

Petition objections are a common election-year occurance.