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.”

Judge: 11 of 22 disputed ballots in Brookhaven council race valid

Originally published: December 10, 2013 12:44 PM
Updated: December 10, 2013 9:51 PM

Photo credit: Ed Betz | Board of Elections administrators Cathy Schatzger, left, and Phil Regan, second left count remaining ballots in Brookhaven Fourth District Council race between Democrat Connie Kepert and Republican Michael A. Loguercio Jr., as lawyers and election officials look on in Yaphank. (Dec. 10, 2013)

Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr.'s lead over Democratic incumbent Connie Kepert narrowed Tuesday, after votes were counted in an unresolved Brookhaven Town council race following a court challenge.

Loguercio held a five-vote lead after Kepert made a net gain of 11 votes when 19 ballots were opened Tuesday at the Suffolk Board of Elections in Yaphank. Kepert won 15 votes and Loguercio won four.

Officials said they would meet Wednesday to review the vote and possibly certify the results. Attorneys and election officials were discussing the vote at 6 p.m. Tuesday, hours after the vote count appeared to have been completed.

Earlier in the day, State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie ruled on 22 ballots that had been challenged by Democratic and Republican officials. In a 12-page decision, MacKenzie ruled 11 votes were valid and should be counted, and ruled 11 others were invalid.

Democratic attorneys said they may appeal parts of MacKenzie's decisions to the state Appellate Division in Brooklyn. A hearing in that court is expected next week.

"This case definitely shows that every vote does count," said Kepert's attorney, Jared Kasschau, referring to the close vote. He added he is considering an appeal because, "There are certain votes that should be canvassed or counted."

MacKenzie threw out 11 ballots because of questionable signatures, "extraneous" vote markings and, in one case, because election workers apparently mishandled an absentee ballot. She wrote that the absentee vote should be discounted because of questions over the chain of custody and whether the ballot was properly marked. "The ballot's integrity was not protected," MacKenzie wrote.

A total of 48 votes in the Kepert-Loguercio race had been challenged by Democratic and Republican officials. MacKenzie did not rule on 26 votes because attorneys agreed to accept or reject them during the three-day hearing, which concluded on Monday.

Officials also have challenged about 53 ballots cast in the Suffolk County 6th District Court race between Conservative Party candidate Barbara Lynaugh and Democrat Chris A. Kelley. Lynaugh trailed Kelley by 22 votes.

Judge to decide on disputed Brookhaven ballots

Tuesday December 10, 2013 7:46 AM By Carl MacGowan

A State Supreme Court judge said Monday she will rule today on disputed ballots in an unresolved Brookhaven Town council race.

Justice Carol MacKenzie said she would fax her decisions to attorneys for Democratic incumbent Connie Kepert and Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr. Remaining ballots are expected to be counted at Board of Elections headquarters in Yaphank Tuesday after MacKenzie reveals her decisions.

Loguercio led Kepert by 16 votes in unofficial tallies.

On the third day of a hearing Monday in Central Islip, Republican attorney John Ciampoli told MacKenzie she should throw out ballots that were filled out incorrectly, even for relatively minor errors.

“That small vote that is cast fraudulently cancels out yours and mine,”  Ciampoli said.
Democratic attorneys countered that voters should not be disenfranchised because of small mistakes. “Ballots should be counted wherever possible,” attorney James Matthews said.

MacKenzie also may rule on disputed ballots in the Suffolk County Sixth District Court race between Democrat Chris A. Kelley and Conservative Party candidate Barbara Lynaugh. Kelley led by 22 votes.

Lynaugh’s attorney, Lee Snead, said MacKenzie’s decisions in the council race may help him decide “whether it will be fruitful to move forward” with challenges to votes in the court race.

Testimony continues in Brookhaven ballot dispute

Monday December 9, 2013 2:09 PM By Carl MacGowan

A Brookhaven ballot dispute hearing continued into its third day on Monday in State Supreme Court in Central Islip, with testimony from Suffolk Board of Election employees.

The election workers -- two Democrats and one Republican -- gave conflicting testimony about a ballot that Republican attorneys say should be thrown out. GOP lawyers say election officials may have mishandled the ballot.

Democratic election workers said the absentee ballot had been properly time-stamped with an electronic wanding device when it was received. The Republican worker said the ballot appeared to lack a time stamp.

Democratic attorney James Matthews accused Republican lawyer Steven Losquadro of suggesting there was a "conspiracy" by Democrats to improperly cast the ballot.

"You're suggesting some fraudulent behavior occurred," Matthews said in court, referring to Losquadro. "It is an outrage."

Justice Carol MacKenzie said Losquadro was not alleging fraud, and she refused to consider Matthews' objections to Losquadro's questions.

MacKenzie is deciding on dozens of disputed ballots from a Brookhaven Town Council race between Democratic incumbent Connie Kepert and Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr., and a 6th District Court judge race between Democrat Chris A. Kelley and Conservative Party candidate Barbara Lynaugh, who received Republican backing.

Loguercio led Kepert by 16 votes, and Kelley had a 22-vote lead over Lynaugh.


Community News

More Election Coverage... 

Ralph Nader's name on disputed ballot

Originally published: December 6, 2013 1:59 PM
Updated: December 6, 2013 9:43 PM

Photo credit: AP | Ralph Nader stands next to his poster of Lou Gehrig in his office in Washington. (Dec. 13, 2011)

The name of consumer advocate Ralph Nader made a surprise appearance Friday during a court hearing on disputed Brookhaven election ballots.

A voter invoked the five-time presidential candidate in a message written across the bottom of a ballot in Brookhaven's 4th Council District.

"Where is Ralph Nadar?" the voter wrote, apparently misspelling Nader's name. A copy of the ballot was viewed by a Newsday reporter.

The ballot and the voter's message came to light during the second day of a State Supreme Court hearing Friday in Central Islip. Democratic and Republican attorneys are disputing the validity of dozens of ballots cast in Nov. 5 elections for the town council seat and a Suffolk County District Court race.

The hearing is scheduled to resume on Monday.

Judge Carol MacKenzie, whose decisions could determine the outcome of both races, said she expects to issue rulings on Tuesday.

MacKenzie, who has generally maintained a stern demeanor during the hearing, said she found the Nader message "rather amusing."

Lawyers on both sides agreed to toss out the ballot because of the handwritten message.

In the council race, incumbent Democrat Connie Kepert is trying to defeat Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr.

Ballots that were counted Wednesday because they no longer are in dispute expanded Loguercio's lead to 16 votes. He had held an 11-vote lead.

In the 6th District Court race, Democrat Chris A. Kelley held a 22-vote lead over Conservative Party candidate Barbara Lynaugh.

Most of the ballot challenges discussed Friday concerned signatures on voting records, and whether markings such as check marks and so-called "tadpole tails" should be counted if they were outside ovals for each candidate.

Ballots reviewed in Brookhaven, Suffolk races

Originally published: December 3, 2013 1:47 PM
Updated: December 3, 2013 9:44 PM

Photo credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr. | Long Beach residents voting at Lindell Elementary School in Long Beach. (Nov. 5, 2013)

A state judge and attorneys for candidates in two unresolved elections began reviewing 101 disputed ballots yesterday that could decide the outcome of both races.

GOP attorneys in Central Islip, where ballots are being debated in a Brookhaven Town Council race and a Suffolk District Court contest, suggested one ballot signature had been forged and asked State Supreme Court Justice Carol MacKenzie to forward it to Suffolk prosecutors for investigation. She did not say whether she would do so.

Democratic attorney Jim Matthews said Republicans were "jumping the gun a little bit."

MacKenzie's decisions could determine whether incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Connie Kepert retains her seat on the Brookhaven Town Board. In unofficial tallies, Kepert was behind Republican challenger Michael A. Loguercio Jr. by 11 votes. Republican and Democratic attorneys challenged a total of 48 ballots in that race.

In the other race, for 6th District Court judge, Democrat Chris A. Kelley led Conservative Party candidate Barbara Lynaugh by about 25 votes. There are 53 contested ballots in that race.

Attorneys formally entered five contested ballots into evidence and agreed to drop challenges to 20 more.

Republican attorney Steven Losquadro, brother of Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro, called a handwriting expert and a Suffolk elections inspector.

Jared A. Kasschau, an attorney for Kepert, said two ballots should be thrown out because the voters' signatures when they voted did not match those in election registration records.

The handwriting specialist testified that a different ballot contained a signature "dramatically different" from one in registration records. But attorneys didn't claim the signature was forged.

Election commissioners are expected to meet Wednesday to count about 20 ballots that attorneys no longer are contesting.

The hearing resumes Friday.

Judge sets hearings on disputed Brookhaven elections

Tuesday November 26, 2013 12:00 PM By Deborah S. Morris and Carl MacGowan

A State Supreme Court judge has set a date next week to begin two hearings regarding disputed elections in the Town of Brookhaven.

Justice Carol MacKenzie set the date yesterday during a scheduling conference, according to Jared A. Kasschau, the attorney for incumbent town board member Democrat Connie Kepert.

The judge will rule on the validity of 48 ballots cast in the 4th District council race between Kepert and Republican challenger Michael Loguercio Jr., when that hearing begins on Dec. 3 in State Supreme Court in Central Islip.

Also that day Mackenzie will oversee a hearing on disputed ballots in the close contest for 6th District Court judge between Democrat Chris A. Kelley and Conservative Barbara Lynaugh. In unofficial results, Lynaugh led Kelley by 422 votes.

“I don’t know if the cases have been formally joined but they are related and are tracking one another,” Kasschau said.

More Election Coverage...