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Hearing set on fate of affidavit ballots

Nassau's administrative judge Thursday ordered lawyers for Democratic and Republican election officials to appear before him next week to try to resolve the validity of about 7,000 affidavit ballots that the Republican commissioner of the Suffolk Board of Elections refuses to count.

Justice Anthony Marano scheduled the hearing for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The only race that could be impacted by the decision is the contest for six State Supreme Court positions in the 10th Judicial District, which covers both Nassau and Suffolk, said Steven Schlesigner, attorney for the Nassau Democrats.

The races include a three-way fight for the seat held by incumbent Justice Peter Skelos, a Republican, who is vying with Democrats Hope S. Zimmerman and Leonard Steinman. Voters were asked to pick from a field of 12 candidates.

Ken Gray, an attorney for Nassau Republicans, said Suffolk GOP Commissioner Wayne T. Rogers is refusing to count 7,000 affidavits submitted in Suffolk from voters who were out of their home districts because of superstorm Sandy.

Rogers argues that "the ballots were not properly cast because they don't indicate that Sandy forced them to vote out of district," Gray said.

Rogers could not be reached for comment.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo decreed that voters in the nine counties most impacted by Sandy could vote outside their districts. Cuomo's order made no mention of voters having to note the storm on their ballots.

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