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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Petition challenges: Fischer off 1st S.D. ballot, judge rules

A state Supreme Court judge Tuesday upheld a Suffolk Board of Elections ruling throwing Democratic State Senate primary challenger Gregory Fischer off the ballot because his petitions were not postmarked by the deadline.

Justice Jerry Garguilo ruled that Fischer’s arguments “were not persuasive” noting that the law is clear that mail in petitions must be postmarked by the deadline date. Fischer’s were postmarked a day late.

Fischer said the decision was expected, and that he plans to appeal. He said he has a host of witnesses who’d have testified that he had mailed before midnight, but who weren’t allowed to appear. “I’m going to try to make the law better,” he said.

In two other cases, Republican and Democratic election commissioners split on whether Assemb. Mark Alessi (D-Shoreham) and Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Habor) qualified for the Independence Party ballot line. Democratic Commissioner Anita Katz said the lawmakers qualified for the line; GOP commissioner Cathy Richter Geiger, voted to disqualify them.

A split vote means the two officials keep the ballot line, though a court challenge is likely.

Objectors had claimed that petitions violate a state laws barring candidates for different offices being listed on the same petitions. Democrats maintain the law only limits candidates for different offices appearing on the same petition page.

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