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Duell's candidacy for justice post in question, opponent files protest

THURMAN The question of whether Glenda Duell will be remaining on the November ballot as a candidate for Thurman Town Justice remained up in the air this week while the legality of her candidacy was challenged. Duell, who was convicted in 1997 of 136 felonies related to a failed septic system, won the Republican Primary in September by a comfortable margin. She is still listed as the G.O.P candidate, despite a state law that prohibits people with felony convictions from running for, or serving in, town justice posts. Warren County Board of Elections Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said she would only remove Duell from the ballot either if the candidate herself requested it, or was provided written proof by the Thurman Republican Committee that Duell was ineligible and that the committee specifically asked for her to be removed from the ballot. Thurman Republican Committee Chairman John Haskell said he and his one other committee member, David Robinson, hadnt made a decision yet over whether to gather proof and request to have Duells name removed. Id like to talk to Glenda before we decide anything, Haskell said. Attempts to reach Duell this week were unsuccessful, but she has told the Adirondack Journal and others that she is seeking a state Certificate of Release from Civil Disability, which she said wipes the felonies off her record, and allows her to run for the justice post. This document is typically granted by state Supreme Court judges in situations where convicted but rehabilitated felons, whove successfully served their sentences, seek to obtain a license that is required for their livelihood, area lawyers said. But according to state Office of Court Administration spokeswoman Kali Holloway, state Corrections Law S701 outlines the specific applications and limits of the Relief of Civil Disabilities, and it doesnt alter eligibility for public office. It doesnt change anything, Holloway said. The law specifically states that the certificate does not allow a convicted felon to run for or hold public office. Holloway has said that if Duell does remain on the ballot and win, she wont be able to serve, because as part of her process of assuming office, she will have to submit a statement of eligibility certifying she has no felony convictions. If a successful candidate is deemed ineligible to take office, and the choice of appointing a substitute town justice comes before Thurman town officials, Haskell said this week hed likely vote to appoint the second-highest vote-getter in either of the primary or general elections, regardless of party affiliation. Primary contenders Doug Collignon and Carolyn Grotevant, both of whom were handily defeated by Duell in the primary, as well as independent candidate Filomina Riviello, said this week they are assessing their options due to the present circumstances. Last week, primary runner-up Collignon filed a protest of Duells placement on the Republican Party Line for the upcoming general election with the Warren County Board of Elections and the Warren County Republican Committee. In the letter to the county GOP, Collignon suggests that a replacement candidate be appointed. State statute allows for a replacement candidate to be appointed if the winner of the primary is disqualified, Collignon said Monday. Since I placed second in the primary, I am asking that they appoint me. Collignon said that if his protests are ignored, he will likely initiate a write-in campaign. The whole situation is bizarre, Grotevant said Sunday. Grotevant said she is seriously considering running a write-in campaign. Shell make her decision within the next week or so, she said. At this point, Duell has only one opponent on the November ballot, Filomina Riviello who lists herself as a member of the Equal Justice Party. Riviello said Friday that she would, if elected, remain objective because she has no relatives in the community. This job affects peoples lives, Riviello said. The key is to remain open-minded and fair. Moving to Thurman in 2004, Riviello now works part-time as an Adjunct Lecturer of Humanities at ACC. The general election will take place on Nov. 4. Adirondack Journal Editor Thom Randall contributed to this report.

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