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Court to review Huntington election ballots

 

BY DEBORAH S. MORRIS

deborah.morris@newsday.com

November 29, 2007

 

Court challenges by both the Republican and Democratic parties in Huntington have held up certification of the winners for town board in this month's election, Suffolk County Board of Election officials said yesterday.

 

The unofficial results have incumbent Glenda Jackson beating Republican challenger Bill Dowler by 98 votes. The Republicans said the race was too close to call and requested a recanvass of the votes. They then filed a lawsuit over some of the findings.

 

"It's not been finalized," said Tom Noble, assistant to the Republican commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Election. "It's going to be reviewed in court. We're not going to certify the vote because several details have to be discussed in court."

 

Those details include discrepancies over several paper ballots and affidavits that have yet to be counted because of objections by either side. The other issue involves an anomaly the board found with a voting machine in the West Hills-Cold Spring Harbor area.

 

According to officials, 40 more votes were counted on the machine than there should have been, given the number of voters on the tally sheets.

 

All motions on the case are due before the court today. Tomorrow Judge Emily Pines is expected to convene a hearing at the Suffolk Board of Elections, according to David Reilly, an attorney representing the Huntington Republican Committee.

 

"The court will go to the board of elections for the purpose of hearing the matters at issue," Reilly said. "The judge will hear our concerns as well as all the respondents, including the candidates."

 

On Friday the Democrats filed their own lawsuit.

 

"They challenged a number of ballots and we've made counter challenges to protect our interests," said Mary Collins, chairwoman of the Huntington Town Democratic committee.

 

Collins said the Republicans are attempting to discard the votes of seniors in nursing homes, homebound individuals with disabilities and the terminally ill.

 

"It is important to me and to the Democratic Party that they do not succeed," Collins said.

 

In response, Toni Tepe, the Huntington Republican Committee chairwoman, said, "I can assure you that is not true. What we are looking to do is to preserve the integrity of the ballot and the vote."

 

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