Former Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot has lost a bid to force an Independence Party primary election against County Legislator Bridget Fleming ahead of the Nov. 5 election in Suffolk’s Second Legislative District.
Ms. Kabot’s campaign filed 22 sworn and notarized “opportunity to ballot” petitions last month, in which signers sought a write-in primary election on the Independence line. The Suffolk County Board of Elections validated those petitions, but George Lynch, a member of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee, objected to State Supreme Court.
Judge John J. Leo found last Thursday that 45 of 172 signatures Ms. Kabot submitted were invalid, rendering the effort insufficient to establish a write-in primary on the Independence Party line.
Ms. Fleming will be the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families Parties’ candidate on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. Ms. Kabot will appear on the Republican and Conservative Party lines.
“It’s troubling that Kabot would attempt to undermine the democratic process by swearing to and filing these petitions, when more than a quarter of the signatures were no good,” Ms. Fleming said in the statement issued on Friday. “I’m pleased that the court was able to quickly take a close look at them and protect the voters’ right to a fair election, by throwing the petitions out. I’m proud of my work representing Suffolk’s East End, and I look forward to a campaign that focuses on the issues, and not political games.”
Ms. Kabot had a different interpretation. “She won,” she said of Ms. Fleming on Tuesday, “over duplicate signatures, where a voter signed for the write-in opportunity for me, and that same voter had signed a multi-candidate petition that included Bridget’s name.”
To characterize her bid as undermining the democratic process, Ms. Kabot said, was “Orwellian newspeak. I was trying to open the process and let people decide by write-in. It’s absolutely surprising and alarming to me that anyone would challenge voter signatures to this extent over a write-in campaign. I’m not even on the ballot — what is she afraid of? To claim victory on this is an erosion of the democratic process, and clearly voters’ intent should be respected. When they sign a petition, they want a larger choice. In my opinion, she’s wrong on that. We’ll let the people decide on Election Day.”