A state Supreme Court judge has thrown Southampton Democrat Eileen Duffy off the ballot for a town council primary on June 25, saying she misled voters by also circulating petitions for town trustee at the same time.
In an eight-page ruling, Justice David T. Reilly ruled that Duffy failed to decline the nomination for trustee through “virtually the entire” designating petitions process and “knowingly allowed enrolled voters to be misled as which of the offices he was truly seeking.”
While Duffy declined the nomination of trustee on April 8 within the time limit set by the election law, Reilly said, “That filing did nothing to extinguish the election fraud that Duffy committed, intentionally or unintentionally, upon the enrolled voters.”
Carl Andrew Irace, Duffy’s attorney, said he and his client were disappointed in the ruling, which was made late Friday, and filed papers Tuesday to challenge the decision to the Appellate Division in Brooklyn. In court papers they had asserted that the Democratic Party’s claim of election fraud was not made with “sufficient specificity,” noting the “circumstances constituting the fraud shall be stated in detail.” Duffy could not be reached for comment.
However, the party’s suit claimed that Duffy committed fraud by running for two incompatible offices in which she could not serve simultaneously. The party also claimed she misled voters by including the names of two other Democratic nominees, town board member John Bouvier and trustee candidate Andrew Brosnan, along with her own name on her petitions without their knowledge or consent.
Duffy screened for both town council and trustee and acknowledged she accepted the party’s nomination for trustee, but later changed her mind and decided to run in a Democratic primary for town board and circulated petitions with the names of two of the party’s designated candidate because she supported them.
Earlier, Republican and Democratic elections commissioners split on the petitions challenge, which left Duffy on the ballot until Reilly’s decision removed her. Earlier, board officials removed Duffy as the candidate for the Working Families Party, saying she lacked enough qualified signatures and failed to list the office correctly as town council.