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Nassau DA candidate Scotto calls foul on rival Singas for challenging petitions

From left, Madeline Singas and Michael Scotto are

From left, Madeline Singas and Michael Scotto are vying for the position of Nassau County district attorney.

Nassau district attorney candidate Michael Scotto on Thursday accused acting District Attorney Madeline Singas, his opponent in the Democratic primary, of trying to disenfranchise minority voters who support his campaign by attempting to knock him off the ballot.

Scotto, a former Manhattan prosecutor, has submitted nominating petitions with 6,355 signatures to the Nassau Board of Elections -- more than triple the number needed to get on the ballot. Nassau Democrats challenged the validity of the signatures, alleging ballot fraud.

Scotto said the signatures were collected largely in minority neighborhoods such as Freeport, Uniondale, Baldwin, Hempstead and Elmont.

"I'm asking Ms. Singas to spend the next several weeks debating the issues and not trying to dodge the issues while her team attempts to deny the people that right," Scotto, a former Manhattan prosecutor, said at a rally in Hempstead. "I'm asking Ms. Singas to act like the leader she claims to be and not a playground bully."

A Singas campaign spokesman declined to comment.

County Board of Elections officials said this week that they are conducting a line-by-line review of Scotto's petitions. The two sides are scheduled to appear before state Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Brown in Mineola on Monday.

Elections board officials said they expect a ruling by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court by Aug. 19.

Dennis Jones, a Hempstead resident and Scotto supporter, said Singas should drop her ballot petition challenge.

"Everyone should have the right to step forward and run," said Jones, who is president of the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce.

Scotto's campaign reported having less than $1,400 in cash on hand in July after raising nearly $110,000 since January.

Singas collected $680,000 in contributions since January while the GOP nominee, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, collected $643,000, with nearly half coming from her town campaign fund.

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