Judge orders candidates’ signs back on Holley school property

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 September 2018 at 5:24 pm

HOLLEY – A judge this afternoon ordered candidate signs that were removed from Holley Central School to be put back.

The school district took the signs down just before the polls opened at noon today for a primary. The signs were for Joe Sidonio, who is running for a spot on the Murray Town Board and also the Town Republican Committee. He has been campaigning with about 10 other candidates for spots on the Republican Committee who also had signs removed.

No political signs are allowed within 100 feet of a polling place, which for Murray is at the Holley Junior-Senior High School.

Sidonio and other Republican Committee candidates had signs near the school facing Lynch Road, outside the 100-foot limit.

Brian Bartalo, school district superintendent, notified Sidonio at about noon that the signs were removed.

Sidonio has an election law attorney, Peter Reese of Buffalo, who filed an injunction at the State Supreme Court. Tracy Bannister, a judge in Erie County, ordered the signs to be put back at about 2 p.m.

Reese said he has been working in elections for 50 years and this is the first time heard of a polling place having legal signs taken down.

“We believe this is core constitutional rights,” Reese said. “I’ve never heard of anything like this. This is ridiculous.”

Reese said Sidonio scouted the property so he knew where he could legally place the signs.

Holley is the only school in Orleans County that is used as a polling place. Most of the polling sites are at town halls, although Albion uses Hoag Library and part of Ridgeway uses the Ridgeway fire hall.

“If they don’t want signs, they shouldn’t be a polling place,” Reese said about Holley.

Jeff Martin, the school attorney, was unavailable for comment.

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