Frank Morganthaler is a self-described die-hard conservative.
So imagine his surprise when he learned that elections officials in Westchester and Rockland counties had printed thousands of absentee ballots for the 17th Congressional District race that featured his name next to the Party for Socialism and Liberation line.
Morganthaler, who is running against 12-term Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) and Republican candidate Joe Carvin under the independent We the People party line he created for the race, is taking the unintentional slight personally. The Vietnam veteran and retired New York City Fire Department lieutenant said that listing him under the Party for Socialism and Liberation line is "an underhanded and deliberate attempt" to defame his character and damage his campaign.
State elections officials said they weren't aware of the situation, but they pointed out that they only certify the ballots, not print them, which is the responsibility of local election boards, in this case Westchester and Rockland counties.
However, the officials also said that the counties may have simply been following the election laws.
"If you're not an official party in New York, then you may be forced to share the line with another independent body on the ballot," said state elections spokesman John Conklin.
In this case, Morganthaler, 64, of Hawthorne, will be sharing the Party for Socialism and Liberation line with presidential candidate Peta Lindsay.
Rockland County election officials, who already have mailed more than 5,000 absentee ballots at 10 cents apiece in the congressional race, declined to comment for this story, saying they were awaiting word from the state about how to proceed.
Westchester County election officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, both counties are preparing to print hundreds of thousands of ballots for the Nov. 6 election, which at this point lists Morganthaler on the Party for Socialism and Liberation line. In Rockland County alone, printing those ballots will cost more than $90,000.
Morganthaler said his name already has been listed on some online voter guides as a socialist candidate. He is considering filing a federal lawsuit against the state elections board to switch his ballot listing.