An NYPD detective disqualified from challenging a GOP-backed candidate in Nassau County’s 15th legislative district because of a petition error has won his eleventh-hour appeal and will appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot.
The Appellate Division’s Second Judicial Department on Monday allowed James Coll of Seaford, a member of the NYPD’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, to challenge John R. Ferretti II, the Nassau GOP’s choice.
Democratic county elections Commissioner David Gugerty said paper ballots would be distributed Tuesday at 15 polling sites in the district.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Bogle last month invalidated Coll’s nominating petition because of an error that used the words “15th District Nassau County Legislature” instead of “Legislator.”
In a unanimous ruling, the Appellate Division said Coll’s petitions were “sufficiently informative so as to preclude any reasonable probability of confusing or deceiving the signers, voters, or board of elections.”
“Since day one of this campaign, we have worked to ensure the voters their right to have a choice on the ballot,” Coll said. “Since day one of the Ferretti campaign, they have worked to obstruct that right.”
Republicans were not expected to appeal the decision.
“I welcome tomorrow’s primary and look forward to a great victory tomorrow evening,” said Ferretti, a chief deputy Nassau County clerk and great-nephew of Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello.
Jericho attorney Jonathan Clarke, who represented Coll pro bono through the group Election Justice USA, said the decision shows courts “want to make it a more open process so people who are not career politicians can get on the ballot.”
John Ryan, counsel to county GOP elections Commissioner Louis Savinetti, did not return a call for comment.
The legislative seat was vacated earlier this year by Dennis Dunne, who was appointed to the Hempstead Town Board.
Absentee ballots were to be mailed overnight to all permanent absentee GOP voters in the district. Since the deadline for returning absentee ballots is midnight Monday, Gugerty said a court may need to rule whether to count the ballots.