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Assembly hopeful Mike Yacubich will appeal to Appellate Division to get back on ballot

Mike Yacubich’s chances of getting on the Sept. 13 Republican primary ballot took another hit Monday when state Supreme Court Judge John Leo ruled against him and in support of the Suffolk County Board of Election’s earlier ruling knocking him off the ballot.

But Mr. Yacubich, an accountant, former Shoreham-Wading River school board member and current Rocky Point fire chief, plans to keep fighting and has decided to appeal the decision to the state’s Appellate Division, according to his attorney, Gary Donoyan. 

Mr. Yacubich, 52, had gone to state Supreme Court to try and overturn the Board of Elections’ decision earlier this month to remove him from the primary ballot based on invalid petitions. The primary would pit him against incumbent Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo.

The BOE’s decision was based on the fact that his petitions were filed under the informal name “Mike Yacubich.”

The BOE found that a Michael B. Yacubich — the candidate — and a Michael V. Yacubich, his son, were both registered to vote at the same Shoreham address.

For that reason, the BOE ruled that it could not be clearly determined by signers of the petition which Michael Yacubich was the candidate.

Mr. Yacubich testified that he is known as Mike in the community. But the judge wrote that Mr. Yacubich didn’t present any witnesses to say there was no confusion on the name issue.

Judge Leo said the witnesses Mr. Yacubich called in his defense merely “lent support to the premise that confusion existed.”

Nick LaLota, the Republican commissioner at the Board of Elections, testified that having the candidate go by “Mike” on his petitions causes confusion when there are two Michaels at the same voting address.

“The BOE’s finding as to the invalidity of the designating petitions is presumptively correct,” Judge Leo wrote in his decision. “The burden of providing the validity or invalidity is on the person who questions the actions of the BOE in rejecting or accepting the petition.”

Mr. Yacubich said he collected about 850 signatures, far more than the 500 needed to get on the ballot.

Mr. Palumbo, 47, of New Suffolk, was elected to the Assembly in a special election in 2013. He also has the Conservative and Independence party nominations on the November general election ballot.

Rona Smith of Greenport, 73, is on the November ballot on the Democratic line.

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