ALBANY — Jack Martins’ legal fight against GOP primary challenger Philip Pidot in the 3rd Congressional District will be heard in federal court Sept. 14 under an expedited process, according to an appeals court decision that also rejected Martins’ attempt to suspend the mailing of absentee ballots.
Martins, of Old Westbury, had sought to suspend the mailing of absentee ballots until the federal court decides his appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday required written arguments to be filed Thursday.
Martins is trying to move the general election for the 3rd Congressional District to Dec. 6. He has argued that because the Republican primary was moved from June to Oct. 6, because of Martins’ unsuccessful legal challenge to Pidot’s nominating petitions, the general election should be held later, too.
“Mr. Martins truly thought he was entitled to a free ride in the primary, and now he actually thinks a federal court is going to move Election Day for his convenience,” said Pidot, a corporate fraud investigator from Glen Cove.
Martins, a state senator, had said he feared military and overseas voters wouldn’t get absentee ballots in time for the election. The North Shore district covers parts of Suffolk, Nassau and Queens.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense granted a waiver to its rule that requires ballots to get to voters serving overseas in the military 45 days before Election Day.
U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin ruled in Albany last week that the waiver removes any reason to delay the general election.
Election officials estimate that 100,000 voters likely would fail to vote if the general election were delayed.
Moving the congressional race’s general election to December also would reduce the influence of the presidential election between Republican Donald Trump, a Manhattan businessman, and Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.
Martins spokesman E. O’Brien Murray accused Pidot of doing “everything he can to delay the process including asking for more time in this case. We are glad the court has set a date for oral arguments so we can continue to fight for the rights of our service members and the voters who are voting by absentee, including senior citizens and the disabled.”
Murray has said the campaign sought the injunction to minimize confusion among voters about the legal battles and deadlines to vote and receive absentee ballots.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Thomas Suozzi of Glen Cove, a former Nassau County executive. “This is bordering on delusional,” Suozzi strategist Kim Devlin said of the protracted legal fight.