Norman P. Green was arraigned Monday in Chautauqua County Court on two election law misdemeanors. Green is the county’s Democratic election commissioner. The attempt to indict on felony charges failed to pass grand jury.
“I think it shows the system works, as far as grand juries,” said James Subjack, who is representing Green. “We’re looking forward to bringing the facts out to the public and I’m very confident that ultimately the charges will be dismissed either by motion or trial.” County Court Judge John Ward has recused himself from the case, which is now assigned to a Cattaraugus County judge.
Green was released Monday on his own recognizance. Chautauqua County will retain jurisdiction over the case. As such, Judge Michael Nenno, the Cattaraugus County, Family and Surrogate Court judge, will preside in Chautauqua County Court.
The election law charge against Green stems from last year’s race between Nancy Bargar and Andy Goodell, who were both vying for the state Assembly seat formerly held by Bill Parment.
During the race, an envelope from Parment sat unopened on Green’s desk for several days. The envelope contained Parment’s declination of the Independence Party’s endorsement in the race. During the time which the envelope sat unopened, certain elections deadlines passed – deadlines which Goodell said prevented him from being able to obtain the party’s endorsement.
To properly drop out of the election, Parment had to officially decline the endorsements of both the Democratic Party and the Independence Party. Without official declinations for each party’s endorsement, no one else could hold those lines on November’s ballot.
On the last day for filing, Parment signed both declinations in Green’s office. The declination for the Democratic Party was then filed immediately with the Board of Elections. The other, however, was mailed by Green back to himself at the Board of Elections – and opened six days later, after Goodell gave up attempts to try to secure the Independence Party’s endorsement.