At the Port Washington Police Commissioner’s meeting Wednesday, officials spent most of the time discussing Reed Markham's election petition, which was handed to the desk officer on duty on Nov. 8 at 5:15 p.m., a full week after the Nov. 1 deadline that is written into the police district charter.
Commissioner Angela Lawlor-Mullins is standing for re-election, and until Nov. 8, it appeared she was running unopposed for the Dec. 11 election at Polish American Cultural Association, from 12-9 p.m.
Candidates must file a petition signed by 25 registered voters living within the district before their names can be included on the ballot. And while the charter is specific about the Nov. 1 filing deadline, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 52, which extends filing requirements for situations that would not have redress through the courts.
Stephen Ressa, the attorney for the police district, along with members of the public, discussed whether the executive order pertains to the election. Ressa, as well as the labor attorney for the district, said that good arguments could be made on both sides of the question.
Two points troubled the commissioners and the members of the public who spoke. The exemption that was granted runs until the middle of December, raising a practical problem for the district related to printing ballots and preparing voting machines for Dec. 11 election.
The other issue voiced by Commissioner Dave Franklin and supported by Commissioner James Duncan was that all the signatures on the petition were collected after the Nov. 1 deadline so that from his point of view it seemed as though Markham had no plan to run prior to that critical date.
After much discussion the commissioners instructed Ressa to contact the governor’s office to obtain a ruling on the applicability of Executive Order 52 to the police district election. They will hold an emergency meeting Friday at 3 p.m. to vote on whether Markham’s name will appear on the printed ballot.
Although the commisoners will determine if Markham’s name appears printed on the ballot, he is free to run as a write-in candidate.
Patch will report more as this story unfolds.
This article has been updated with the correct spelling of Reed Markham's name.