Larsen Primary Bid Rejected

Jerry Larsen, a former East Hampton Village police chief seeking a seat on the East Hampton Town Board, cannot participate in a primary election to be a candidate on the Independence Party line, a judge in the State Supreme Court Appellate Division has ruled.

Mr. Larsen, who will be a candidate on the Republican Party line in the Nov. 7 general election, was among those seeking the Independence Party’s endorsement when it screened candidates in May. The party chose Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Jeffrey Bragman, who are both on the Democratic Party ticket, instead.

As a result, unless Mr. Larsen takes his case to the State Court of Appeals, there will be no Independence Party primary.

Mr. Larsen filed a petition with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on July 11 to be an Independence Party candidate for simply “town board” in the Sept. 12 primary election. The designating petition consisted of seven unnumbered and unbound pages.

On July 14, the Board of Elections determined that the petition was invalid, stating that it “was not in compliance with the Election Law and/or the [Board’s] Designating and Nominating Petition Guidelines and Requirements,” according to a decision dated Tuesday. Mr. Larsen filed a petition with the pages numbered and stapled together on July 17.

One week later, the East Hampton Democratic Party formally challenged Mr. Larsen’s petition, contending that it was defective because the original designating petition consisted of unnumbered, loose pages, and it was unclear as to the office he sought.

“There is no office called ‘town board,’ ” Christopher Kelley of the East Hampton Democrats said yesterday. “You’re either running as supervisor or councilman.” The law, he said, requires that a candidate clearly specify the office he or she is running for.

Mr. Larsen went to the State Supreme Court, which agreed that he had corrected the defects of his original petition and dismissed the proceeding.

The Democrats appealed, and the Appellate Division found that the Supreme Court had erred in finding that the petition had sufficiently described the office Mr. Larsen sought. “Pursuant to Town Law, every town board consists of ‘the supervisor’ and ‘the town councilmen,’ ” the decision reads, noting that the candidates elected to each office serve terms of different lengths. Mr. Larsen’s petition “was not sufficiently informative so as to preclude the possibility of confusion.”

Mr. Larsen did not immediately return a call yesterday afternoon seeking comment.