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Court rules Quirk’s petitions to be invalid

A judge ruled that John Quirk was one

A judge ruled that John Quirk was one valid signature short of qualifying to get on the ballot for Nassau Legislature. (Sept. 19, 2013) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

A State Supreme Court judge in Mineola ruled Wednesday that independent candidate John Quirk’s petitions to run for the Nassau County Legislature were short by one signature and thus invalid.

Quirk, a Libertarian trying to get on the ballot for an open seat in the 18th Legislative District, said he was likely to appeal the ruling by Justice Arthur Diamond.

Quirk needed 1,106 valid signatures to get on the ballot and was ruled to have 1,105.

“I’m just a regular guy trying to get by in life who wanted to do something for my community and they’re putting up all these roadblocks against me,” Quirk said.

Oyster Bay resident Richard LaMarca, a registered Republican, challenged the signatures on Quirk’s petition with the Nassau County Board of Elections and in state court. LaMarca hired Mineola-based law firm Bee, Ready, Fishbein, Hatter & Donovan LLP, which is known for representing Republicans in election cases, including the Nassau Republican Committee.

The board of elections ruled in Quirk’s favor but the judge ruled for LaMarca. Signatures can be disqualified if they don’t match the original voter registration form — which can be years or decades old — and if the voter has moved but hasn’t updated his or her address with the board of elections.

Quirk, a district superintendent for the New York City Department of Sanitation, said he has had to take five days off from work to defend his petitions.

“It’s hard as an independent to get on the ballot, unless you’re independently wealthy to fight these Republican law firms,” Quirk said.

Calls to LaMarca and the Nassau Republican Party spokesman were not returned Wednesday.

LaMarca also successfully challenged the petitions for all the Libertarian candidates who sought to run for countywide offices.

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