If you live in Nassau County’s 15th Legislative District, you should thank your lucky stars that Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Bogle saved you from the dastardly campaign of James Coll.
Coll, an NYPD detective from Seaford, was trying to run in the GOP primary, but is not the county party’s preferred pick. That would be John R. Ferretti Jr., the great-nephew of Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello.
A lawsuit alleged that Coll’s nominating petitions included false addresses and registrations, but Bogle found “insufficient evidence” to support that. Instead, he tossed Coll’s candidacy on a technicality: Where petitions should have said “15th District Nassau County Legislator,” they read “15th District Nassau County Legislature.” Bogle called this “a serious matter” that could confuse residents.
Such pedantic nitpicking is just business as usual in a state and county where nearly every law and adjudication of ballot and voter access seems designed to keep the powerful on their perches and deny outsiders a chance to make a difference. This is likely a safe GOP district. Dennis Dunne, the Republican legislator who recently vacated the seat, more than doubled the vote count of his Democratic opponent in 2015. Voters would have been well served by a contested primary.
Voters would also be well served by automatic registration and easy changing of party registration, easy ballot access for candidates, early voting, on-demand absentee voting, combined federal and state primaries, and simpler ballots. Somehow, these things never come to pass. And countywide voter turnout in that race was just 21 percent.
Instead, voters are protected from the horrors of a candidate who writes “Legislature” instead of “Legislator.” And the political bosses are protected from the voters.