Candidate in undecided Oceanside election seeks injunction

This composite image shows Chamber of Commerce president This composite image shows Chamber of Commerce president Tom Lanning, left, and restaurant owner Mike Franzini. Photo Credit: Facebook

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A candidate for the Oceanside Sanitation Commission filed for an injunction Thursday seeking to count the remaining ballots and declare a winner in the month-old election.

Oceanside Chamber of Commerce president Tom Lanning filed the motion for a judge to certify the June 19 election. His attorney served the court filing Thursday to Jerome Cline, the district's attorney, and to Jack Libert, a mediator hired by the district.

A hearing is set for Wednesday in Nassau County Superior Court.

Lanning ran against restaurant owner Mike Franzini for the seat of retiring Commissioner Fred Morse, who remains on the board until a winner is declared. The post pays $7,500 annually for a five-year term.

The special district controls an $8.65 million budget and collects about $600 in taxes from each of the 13,000 district's homeowners.

The court filing will require Cline to show cause why he did not certify the election, Lanning said. "We need to get these votes counted and declare a winner," Lanning said Thursday. "This has been five weeks now. Somebody wins, and somebody loses."

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An initial count on election night showed Lanning leading Franzini by 98 votes from the nearly 1,600 votes cast on two voting machines. A third candidate, Stephen Edmondson received a dozen votes.

Cline sealed 184 paper ballots and planned to count them a week later, court records show.

The voting machines were rented from the Pull This! Election Machine company in Queens. On June 24, Cline said he spoke to the company after he noticed a counter on one machine showed 130 more people entered the polling place than actual votes cast.

Both voting machines were impounded, and the 184 paper ballots were sealed and stored. Sanitation board members said the paper ballots may be compromised because their envelopes were sealed with voter information inside. A signature book for voters was also missing about 20 signatures, officials said.

The sanitation board hired Libert last week to mediate a solution between the two leading candidates.

Both candidates were set to meet with Libert Thursday when he was served with papers, he said.

 

CORRECTION: The name of Stephen Edmondson, one of three candidates in the still undecided election for a seat on the Oceanside Sanitation Commission, was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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