The nominating petition for a trustee candidate in Patchogue has been ruled invalid, ending his political campaign for the upcoming village elections, while incumbent Mayor Paul Pontieri and the incumbent board members on his party line are eligible to appear on the March ballot.
The Suffolk County Board of Elections last week ruled that Richard Evans’ petition is invalid because 58 of the 102 signatures he obtained weren’t registered county voters.
Evans, who was running on the “Progress For All” line, could challenge the decision in court. He could not be reached for comment.
New York State Election Law mandates a candidate must have at least 100 valid signatures from registered Suffolk County voters in order to run for village trustee, Suffolk County Republican Commissioner Nicholas LaLota said in a Monday phone interview.
Village resident Patricia Kelly, a former campaign manager for Pontieri, filed the objection to Evans’ petition with the Board of Elections saying that many signatures weren’t legible and came from non-village homeowners.
Of the six trustee seats on the board, four are open in the March 15 village election, along with the post of mayor.
The two trustee candidates would have included Evans and John Cucci, currently campaigning on the “Clean and Safe Village” line.
The board of elections also ruled that the “Patchogue 2016” party line can be used by Pontieri, who is running unopposed, along with trustees Lori Devlin, Jack Krieger, Thomas Ferb and Susan Brinkman.
“I was pleased. The name and logo we use is important. It marks who we are as a group,” Pontieri said. “I’m glad the system worked the way it should. I’m ready to rock and roll.”
Village resident Constantine Chutis filed the challenge against “Patchogue 2016” arguing that the name and accompanying emblem on the petition were too similar to those of another local party, “Patchogue 2014.”
Pontieri has maintained he has been using and updating the party name for several years.
“It wasn’t like another person was trying to take the name of another party,” LaLota said.
Two members of “Patchogue 2014,” Joseph Keyes and Salvatore Felice, are on the board and are not up for re-election.