The Following articles represent the coverage of the 2013 election in Brookhaven’s 4th Council District by Newsday. Take a look at this coverage as well as summary: “It’s Time this Election Came to an End.”

Dobie: Think a vote doesn't count? Think again

Tuesday December 31, 2013 3:57 PM By Michael Dobie


Every homily you’ve read about the importance of voting is true. It IS your civic duty as a citizen of a democracy. But lofty principles often fall flat as motivators, as witnessed by our generally lousy turnout rates. Sometimes a number is better at driving home the point.

So consider this one: 4.


That’s the number of votes by which challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr. led incumbent Connie Kepert after a lower court ruling on disputed ballots in the Nov. 5 race for a seat on the Brookhaven Town board. That’s also the number of votes by which Kepert seems to have beaten Loguercio after an appeals court ruling overturned part of the earlier decision.


Four votes, out of more than 8,500 cast.

The dizzying back-and-forth in this race might not be over. Representatives for Loguercio, a Republican, say they now plan to file an appeal in his attempt to knock off Kepert, a Democrat.


Whatever the result of that, it’s apparent that one decent-sized family could have swung this election one way or the other. If you don’t like the outcome of this race, whatever it turns out to be, and you did not exercise your right on Nov. 5, you have no one to blame but yourself.


Brookhaven GOP to appeal ruling in contested council race

Originally published: December 21, 2013 2:00 PM
Updated: December 21, 2013 7:45 PM
By DEON J. HAMPTON AND CARL MACGOWAN  deon.hampton@newsday.com,carl.macgowan@newsday.com


The Brookhaven Republican party leader said Saturday that a Brooklyn state appeals court "overturned" a town council election in which GOP officials believed they had narrowly defeated a Democratic incumbent.

Town GOP chairman Jesse Garcia said the party plans to appeal a decision issued Friday by the Second Appellate Division, which said 13 of 16 disputed ballots should be counted. The court ruling did not declare a winner in the race between incumbent Connie Kepert and challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr.

However, both sides said they believed the decision effectively awarded the contest to Kepert. Loguercio had held a four-vote lead in tallies before Friday's court ruling.

"They basically overturned the election," Garcia said in an interview Saturday. "Our lawyers aren't happy, we aren't happy. There are a lot of questions and curious decisions about the voter process and how it was used in this case."

He said GOP lawyers will appeal the ruling with the New York Court of Appeals, possibly this week.

Kepert, when reached by phone Saturday, said, "This is great, we're all very happy. We sought justice at the appellate division, and we got it. It's been rough on my staff not knowing what the outcome would be."

Kepert said she won by four votes.

Loguercio said any appeal would be left to town GOP leaders. "I am disappointed with the judges' decision," he said in an email statement Saturday.

If Kepert wins, Republicans would hold a 5-2 advantage on the town board.

The four-member appellate court panel had reviewed a Dec. 10 decision by State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie, who threw out 11 of 22 ballots challenged by attorneys for Kepert and Loguercio.


The appellate judges considered 16 of the 22 ballots and reversed seven of the decisions in which MacKenzie deemed ballots were invalid and upheld her decisions on two defective ballots. The candidates did not challenge two other decisions finding ballots were invalid.

Kepert was down 94 votes against Loguercio after the Nov. 5 election but made up ground with absentee votes and ballots from Democratic districts.


Appeals court rules on some Brookhaven ballots

Originally published: December 20, 2013 7:46 PM
Updated: December 20, 2013 9:19 PM
By CARL MACGOWAN  carl.macgowan@newsday.com


A Brooklyn state appeals court threw out three contested ballots Friday in an unresolved Brookhaven Town council race, but said 13 other votes should be counted.

It was not immediately clear whether the Second Appellate Division's four-page decision, released late Friday, will change the outcome of the race, in which incumbent Democrat Connie Kepert trailed Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr. by four votes in tallies before Friday's decision.

Lawyers for Kepert and Loguercio could not be reached for comment. Attorneys involved in the case have said they expected the decision would be appealed to the state Court of Appeals.


Friday's unanimous decision by a four-member appellate court panel was a mixed verdict for both sides. The court had reviewed a Dec. 10 decision by State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie, who threw out 11 of 22 ballots challenged by attorneys for Kepert and Loguercio.

The appellate judges reversed seven of the decisions in which MacKenzie deemed ballots were invalid, and upheld her decisions on two defective ballots. The candidates did not challenge two other decisions finding ballots were invalid.

One ballot ruled valid by MacKenzie was deemed invalid by the appellate court.

The judges' decision cited previous court rulings that said ballots should be counted if a voter's intention is clear, even if the ballot is improperly marked. For example, the panel overturned MacKenzie's decision to toss five votes because voters had not properly filled in ovals next to candidates' names.

"Although the markings on these ballots did not strictly comport with the instructions for marking the ballot, they clearly represented each voter's choice," the judges wrote.




 

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Brookhaven council race’s ballot battle continues

Thursday December 19, 2013 2:10 PM By Carl MacGowan


A Brooklyn state appeals court heard arguments Wednesday in a dispute over ballots cast in an unresolved Brookhaven Town council race.

Attorneys for Democratic incumbent Connie Kepert and Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr. ― who leads Kepert by four votes in unofficial tallies ― met for an hour with a four-judge panel of the Second Appellate Division. It was unclear when the judges would render a decision.

Kepert is asking the judges to count 10 ballots that had been deemed invalid last week by State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie. She had ruled that 11 votes should not be counted due to extraneous markings, questionable signatures and other problems.


Attorneys said the appeals judges agreed to review the disputed ballots.

“We await the judges' decision,” said Kepert attorney Jared Kasschau, who declined further comment.

Republican attorneys Steven Losquadro and John Ciampoli declined to comment.


Town of Brookhaven bids farewell to three officials

Wednesday December 18, 2013 9:06 AM By Carl MacGowan


The Brookhaven Town Board said farewell Tuesday to three elected officials who will leave office Dec. 31.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine presented trophies to Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh, Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld and Town Clerk Patricia Eddington before the last scheduled town board meeting of the year at Town Hall in Farmingville.

Romaine acknowledged that another town board member, Councilwoman Connie Kepert, is awaiting the outcome of her election. Kepert, a Democrat, trails Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr. by four votes in unofficial tallies. Kepert has appealed a court ruling disallowing 11 ballots cast in the race.


“We won’t present that, and we may never have to present that,” Romaine said, referring to a trophy recognizing Kepert. “She may be back.”

He added that he planned to honor Kepert at a later meeting if Loguercio wins.

Walsh, a former Republican who ran with Democratic backing, lost in November to Republican Kevin LaValle. Fiore-Rosenfeld and Eddington declined to seek re-election.

Kepert’s appeal is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Second Appellate Division in Brooklyn.


Councilwoman Connie Kepert appeals election ruling

Originally published: December 15, 2013 6:13 PM
Updated: December 15, 2013 7:40 PM
By CARL MACGOWAN  carl.macgowan@newsday.com


Attorneys for Brookhaven Councilwoman Connie Kepert plan to file legal papers Monday asking a Brooklyn state appeals court to overturn a judge's decision to throw out 11 ballots cast in her disputed town board election.


A ruling by the state Second Appellate Division in Kepert's favor could help the Democratic incumbent defeat Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr., who held a four-vote lead in unofficial tallies.

The court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday from attorneys for Kepert and Loguercio. A decision could come as soon as Thursday.


Republicans and Conservatives hold a 5-1 majority on the town board pending the outcome of the 4th District race between Kepert and Loguercio.

Last week, State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie ruled in Central Islip that 11 disputed ballots in the council race were valid and should be counted. She threw out 11 other ballots because of questionable signatures, "extraneous" markings and other problems.


Kepert attorney Jared Kasschau said most of the ballots ruled invalid should be counted. During arguments before MacKenzie, he said voters should not be disenfranchised because of minor errors.

"I feel that the court is going to want to make sure that all the votes that ought to count do count," he said in an interview. "Ballots that conform with the election law . . . should count."


Loguercio's attorney, Steven Losquadro, said he plans to file briefs Tuesday with the Appellate Division. He said his appeal would be based on "the very same arguments that were set forth at the [State Supreme Court] trial, which prevailed. . . . The judge ruled, and our position will be that the judge's decision was well reasoned and very particular and comports with the law."

In the State Supreme Court trial, Losquadro and other Republican attorneys had argued that ballots should be thrown out if they did not strictly comply with state election rules.


In another disputed election, Suffolk election workers are expected to meet Monday to count 53 remaining ballots in the 6th District Court race between incumbent Judge Chris A. Kelley and Conservative Party challenger Barbara Lynaugh.


Lynaugh, a Family Court judge who ran with Republican backing, decided last week to drop her challenges to 34 ballots. Kelley, who had a 35-vote lead in unofficial results, agreed to drop challenges to 19 ballots. Lynaugh's attorneys said she would not gain enough votes from the disputed ballots to defeat Kelley.


Ballot appeal to be heard in Brookhaven council race

Originally published: December 12, 2013 6:31 PM
Updated: December 12, 2013 8:14 PM
By CARL MACGOWAN  carl.macgowan@newsday.com


Attorneys for Brookhaven Democrat Connie Kepert went to a Brooklyn court Thursday in hopes of reversing a state judge's decision to throw out 11 ballots cast in a town council race in which she trails by four votes.


Kepert, the incumbent who was challenged by Republican Michael A. Loguercio Jr., said in an interview that the state Second Appellate Division panel would hear her appeal Wednesday in Brooklyn.


Kepert said she was "extremely hopeful" that appeals court judges would validate votes that may give her the victory.  We are ready to appeal," she said. "I want every vote to count. The will of the voters will prevail."

Her attorneys have said they plan to challenge State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie's ruling Tuesday that 11 votes cast in the 4th District council race between Kepert and Loguercio were invalid due to "extraneous" markings, questionable signatures and other problems. She ruled 11 other ballots challenged by Republican and Democratic officials were valid and should be counted.

Loguercio, a Longwood school board member, said he was "looking forward to the conclusion of the whole process and serving the people of the 4th District."

" . . . I would have much more enjoyed a longer transition period and an acclimation period. It is what it is."

Meanwhile, Conservative Party candidate Barbara Lynaugh, who sought to unseat 6th District Court Judge Chris A. Kelley, dropped her challenges to 34 ballots cast in the race.

Lynaugh, a Family Court judge who ran with Republican backing, likely would not have gained enough votes from disputed ballots to defeat Kelley, said Lynaugh's attorney, Lee Snead.

Democrats had challenged 19 ballots. Kelley appeared to have a 35-vote lead, attorneys said.

"Mathematically, she could have won," Snead said, referring to Lynaugh. "[But . . .] the way it broke out, it didn't look like that was going to happen, because there were more Republican objections to Democratic votes than there were Democratic challenges to Republican votes."

Kelley's attorney, James Matthews, said he expected the Suffolk Board of Elections to count the remaining 53 ballots today or next week. "There'll be no surprises," Matthews said. "I expect . . . [Kelley's lead] to increase once those votes are counted."

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