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Michael Marcantonio thrown off ballot in 12th Assembly District

Democratic Assembly contender Michael Marcantonio was thrown off the November ballot in state Supreme Court Friday for failing to meet the five-year state residency requirement.

Marcantonio will go to the state Appellate Division in Brooklyn Tuesday in an effort to overturn the ruling.

Supreme Court Justice Richard Horowitz said the first-time contender did not meet the state residency requirement after backers of GOP incumbent Andrew Raia showed he changed his voting residence to Durham, N.C., and voted there in 2012 and 2014 while a law student at Duke University.

Horowitz, a Democrat, issued the ruling after an hour-long hearing Friday in Central Islip, where Marcantonio testified and opponents submitted documentation of his North Carolina voting and registration records.

“This is not a victory,” said Raia, the veteran lawmaker from East Northport seeking his ninth term. “Unfortunately, the local Democratic committee knew that Michael Marcantonio had residency issues and they knew there would be a challenge in court long before he received the nomination.”

 However, Raia backers withdrew claims Marcantonio had not lived for a year in the 12th Assembly District, also required under state law. 

“My client has been a resident of Northport all his life,” said Lawrence Silverman, Marcantonio's lawyer. “I don’t believe his registering to vote while going to college should disqualify him. If anything, he should be rewarded for being a good citizen.”

While a state Court of Appeals ruling in 2016 indicates registering to vote out of state vacates a voter’s New York residency, Silverman said he does not believe that was the court’s intent.

Marcantonio said he believes the ruling will be reversed because of the impact it could have on all New York students who attend college. He also noted the 2016 ruling on which Horowitz relied did not exist at the time he voted out of state.

Democrats had high hopes for Marcantonio, 31, who took a leave from the Manhattan firm of Kirkland and Ellis to make the run. He already has raised $107,000 to run against Raia, who has collected $47,000.

 Marcantonio said Raia’s efforts will backfire because “people are up   in arms” because he sued to avoid facing an opponent in November. Raia countered Marcantonio is being “hypocritical and tried to perpetrate a dirty trick on the voters by lying about his five-year residency.”

Horowitz's original ruling, issued verbally from the bench Friday, disqualified Marcantonio as a candidate and determined his petitions were invalid. However, the judge called attorneys back into court Monday and revised his ruling after an objection from Silverman.

Horowitz limited his ruling to Marcantonio’s disqualification, but said the nominating petitions were valid. That will permit Democrats to use the petitions for a substitute candidate. Raia said his backers will challenge that part of the ruling.

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