Jack Martins appeals to delay election, cancel primary

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Republican Jack Martins is appealing a federal judge’s ruling to keep the 3rd Congressional District election in November, continuing his effort to delay the vote or cancel October’s GOP primary.

Judge Christopher F. Dorney on Friday granted Martin’s request for an expedited appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, but on Tuesday rejected his request for an “emergency” order halting the mailing of any more absentee ballots for his special primary with Philip Pidot. 

Oral arguments are set for 10 a.m. on Sept. 14 in the Manhattan court.

Martins, an Old Westbury state senator, asked Dorney to stop mailing more absentee ballots to prevent voter confusion and “irreparabl[e] harm” to Martins’ campaign.

“Martins will now be compelled to expend finite resources — time, money and personnel, to focus on getting Republican voters to the polls for a special Thursday election” on Oct. 6, “after a religious holiday, instead of focusing on convincing the people of the 3rd Congressional District that Martins is the right person to represent them,” attorneys Jason Torchinsky and Paul DerOhannesian II wrote in a legal memo on Martins’ behalf.

Martins also argues that a lower federal court’s decision to keep the general election on Nov. 8 did not properly weigh the economic costs of a special primary and the fact that turnout in October would likely be low.

The appellate court should move the general election to Dec. 6 “to prevent manifest injustice to military personnel who vote in the 3rd District, the eventual Republican nominee and other voters of the Third Congressional District” if it decides the primary is necessary, Martins’ attorneys wrote.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin rejected Martins’ request to delay the general election or cancel the primary in an Aug. 30 ruling.

Martins argued in that Albany court that having only 32 days between the two votes would disenfranchise military service members by violating the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act’s requirement that ballots be mailed to overseas voters at least 45 days before the election.

But Scullin ruled a later general election was unnecessary because the state Board of Elections was granted a waiver for that requirement. The state plans to certify the primary results within days of the election and send absentee ballots electronically and through expedited mail.

Scullin set the Oct. 6 primary after a months-long court fight in which Martins tried to unsuccessfully knock Pidot out of the race for lacking enough ballot petition signatures.

The two Republicans continued to blame each other for delays in court papers. 

Martins said Pidot did not defend his petition before the Board of Elections and waited too long to appeal in state court, while Pidot said Martins could have appealed Scullin’s original order setting the primary earlier in August.

The winner of the primary will take the Republican line against Democrat Tom Suozzi in the race to replace retiring Rep. Steve Israel. Martins also has the Conservative and Reform party lines.

Martins’ opponents lambasted his appeal in written statements. 

Suozzi campaign adviser Kim Devlin said he is turning the race into a “legal quagmire.”

“People want reform in Washington, and they are never going to get it with Martins and his continued efforts to win by default,” said Pidot, a Glen Cove fraud investigator, in a statement.

Martins on Wednesday released his first TV ad of his congressional campaign. It features his four daughters and touts his efforts in the state Senate to cut taxes and secure equal pay for women.

By Noah Manskar

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