Suffolk County Director of Real Estate Sidney Joyner at affordable...

Suffolk County Director of Real Estate Sidney Joyner at affordable housing panel discussion at Leo A. Guthart Hall for Innovation and Discovery at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Thursday, June 2, 2022. Credit: Morgan Campbell

A state Supreme Court judge on Friday ruled that Sidney Joyner, a Democrat running for Suffolk Legislature, cannot be on the ballot because he does not live in the correct district.

Joyner, however, said there is “path forward” for his candidacy and plans to appeal the decision.

Judge Thomas F. Whelan wrote in a seven-page decision it was “undisputed” that Joyner does not live in the newly redrawn 16th Legislative District and that his name could not be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“There is no doubt that Sidney B. Joyner could not be a candidate” for the seat, Whelan wrote in his decision. “It appears to this court that Sidney B. Joyner is violating the very Suffolk County Charter that, if elected, his first act would be to swear to uphold.” 

Joyner, of Huntington, is challenging freshman Legis. Manuel Esteban (R-East Northport) in one of Suffolk’s most competitive November general election races. A lawsuit filed last month by Alvin White, a Republican voter from Huntington Station, said Joyner isn't a resident of the district, which covers parts of West Hills, Huntington Station, South Huntington, Elwood and Brentwood.

The county legislature last year approved new legislative maps for the next decade, beginning with the Nov. 7 election.

The lawsuit cites the Suffolk County charter which says candidates for county legislature must have lived in the district for at least one year before an election, and be a resident of the area when the party nominates them to run.

“We are gratified that the law of Suffolk County has been upheld,” said Steven Losquadro, attorney for the plaintiff and counsel to the Suffolk County Republican Committee. “The residents of the 16th Legislative District deserve and require a representative who lives in their community and is deeply familiar with it.”

The county charter does not affect incumbents who, after a redistricting, no longer live in the area they were elected to represent, according to the lawsuit.

Joyner, who said he is buying a home in the district and plans to be a resident by Election Day, said he will appeal the ruling. He said the county charter does not provide equal protection for challengers and incumbents.

“I'm not happy about the situation at all,” he said. “There is a denial of equal protection here that was not addressed — the fact that the sitting incumbent can actually run from outside of the district and a challenger cannot.”

The lawsuit says the county's election board has until Sept. 14 to determine the candidates. Until then, the list is unofficial, according to the lawsuit.

The decision comes as the county's political parties begin their final push of the election season, with control of county government at stake. All 18 legislative seats are up for election, and for the first time in 12 years there is no incumbent running for county executive.

Republicans are hoping to grow their legislative majority and take back the county executive's office, where Democrat Steve Bellone is term-limited.

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Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

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