Councilwoman Connie Kepert appeals election ruling
GalleriesSuffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Brookhaven Town elected officials Town of Brookhaven
Attorneys for Brookhaven Councilwoman Connie Kepert plan to file legal papers Monday asking a Brooklyn state appeals court to overturn a judge's decision to throw out 11 ballots cast in her disputed town board election.
A ruling by the state Second Appellate Division in Kepert's favor could help the Democratic incumbent defeat Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr., who held a four-vote lead in unofficial tallies.
The court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday from attorneys for Kepert and Loguercio. A decision could come as soon as Thursday.
Republicans and Conservatives hold a 5-1 majority on the town board pending the outcome of the 4th District race between Kepert and Loguercio.
Last week, State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie ruled in Central Islip that 11 disputed ballots in the council race were valid and should be counted. She threw out 11 other ballots because of questionable signatures, "extraneous" markings and other problems.
Kepert attorney Jared Kasschau said most of the ballots ruled invalid should be counted. During arguments before MacKenzie, he said voters should not be disenfranchised because of minor errors.
"I feel that the court is going to want to make sure that all the votes that ought to count do count," he said in an interview. "Ballots that conform with the election law . . . should count."
Loguercio's attorney, Steven Losquadro, said he plans to file briefs Tuesday with the Appellate Division. He said his appeal would be based on "the very same arguments that were set forth at the [State Supreme Court] trial, which prevailed. . . . The judge ruled, and our position will be that the judge's decision was well reasoned and very particular and comports with the law."
In the State Supreme Court trial, Losquadro and other Republican attorneys had argued that ballots should be thrown out if they did not strictly comply with state election rules.
In another disputed election, Suffolk election workers are expected to meet Monday to count 53 remaining ballots in the 6th District Court race between incumbent Judge Chris A. Kelley and Conservative Party challenger Barbara Lynaugh.
Lynaugh, a Family Court judge who ran with Republican backing, decided last week to drop her challenges to 34 ballots. Kelley, who had a 35-vote lead in unofficial results, agreed to drop challenges to 19 ballots. Lynaugh's attorneys said she would not gain enough votes from the disputed ballots to defeat Kelley.