Spin Cycle

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A court hearing to determine the outcome of 19 contested Nassau absentee ballots cast in the tight 3rd Congressional District Republican primary race between Grant Lally and Stephen Labate was rescheduled on Wednesday, July 9, in part to give Labate an opportunity to return from military reserve duty.

State Supreme Court Judge Dana F. Winslow said he adjourned the case to July 16 “in part” to give Labate, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves an opportunity to come back to the area after he was called to duty, shortly after the June 24th primary election.

Labate’s attorneys -- Michael Dyckman of Dix Hills and Neil Weissman of Garden City -- were present at the Mineola court house Wednesday, while Lally’s attorney was teleconferenced in, Winslow said.

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The court hearing was set into motion last week, after Lally’s campaign filed a lawsuit to consolidate the review of contested ballots from three judges (one from each of the district’s counties of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk) to one judge. Supreme Court Judge Arthur M. Diamond ordered last Wednesday that all contested ballots be preserved as the absentee ballot counts were underway.

Lally’s campaign filed a “Notice of Discontinuance” in State Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking to terminate the case after the recount was completed, but Winslow decided to proceed with scheduling next week’s hearing.

“Everything they want to bring up they can bring up to their heart’s content, in open court, on the record,” Winslow told Newsday referring to the two campaigns.

Labate’s campaign on Wednesday told Winslow they plan on requesting a recount, citing the less than 20-vote margin separating the two campaigns and claiming there are “missing tapes” of recorded votes from various ballot boxes in Nassau and Suffolk counties.