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Election commissioner: Islip town GOP rules can't be enforced

Frank Tantone, Islip GOP chairman, pictured in 2012.

Frank Tantone, Islip GOP chairman, pictured in 2012. Photo Credit: Newsday / Johnny Milano

A formal complaint to remove Frank Tantone as Islip Republican party chairman for violating town party rules can’t be enforced because the rules have no validity since they were never filed with the Suffolk Board of Elections, said GOP Elections Commissioner Nicholas LaLota.

Elizabeth Caldwell has complained to the board that Tantone was not legally a town committee member because he recently moved to Bayport and out of the Assembly district where he was required to reside as a committee member. As a result, she said Tantone cannot be GOP leader because town party rules require the chairman to be a committee member.

In his response, LaLota said since town party rules have never been filed with the elections board, the rules of the county GOP committee apply. Those rules specifically state a town chairman “need not be a committee person.” In an interview, LaLota said eight of 10 town GOP committees have not filed rules with the board.

LaLota also told Caldwell that elections commissioners can rule on the validity of petitions of those seeking to be committee members every two years if “obvious defects exist’ or objections are raised within the nine-day deadline for challenges. When petitions were filed in July, he said “no such obvious defects existed nor were objections timely filed” against Tantone. Tantone did not return calls for comment.

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