WHITE PLAINS - Westchester's Independence Party is losing thousands of members after a ruling from a state appellate court.
Party officials have been arguing that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and the GOP tried to hijack the party in last year's county executive race. Officials say that Astorino and the GOP unlawfully enrolled members, who they say were Astorino loyalists, in an attempt to secure the Independence ballot.
The court ruled that the party was within its right to cancel nearly 4,000 of its members enrollments, overturning a lower court's ruling. Party members are calling it a victory in the battle against Astorino.
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In its decision, the court ruled that the party proved those members being removed were not in sympathy with its principles.
In a statement Thursday, an Astorino spokesperson disagreed.
"Four thousand more Westchester County residents just learned about the madness of the Independence Party,” the statement said. “It's a party that stands for nothing other than the enrichment of its leaders."
Party supporters, though, say that this ruling gives the vote back to its loyal members.
Those removed members will still be able to cast votes, but as independent voters. The purge of these 4,000 members cuts the party down by about 17 percent.