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Sep 17, 2013 5:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Kabot, Keith In Dead Heat With Challenges Pending

Sep 18, 2013 11:50 AM

Southampton Town supervisor candidate Linda Kabot and would-be challenger Phil Keith are locked in what appears to be a dead heat for the Conservative Party line in the fall election after the write-in ballots from last Tuesday’s primary votes were counted this week.

While the Suffolk County Board of Elections has yet to confirm any official numbers, accounts from this week’s canvassing of the 151 Conservative ballots—144 of which were cast on primary day, and supplemented by seven absentee ballots—were that Ms. Kabot and Mr. Keith were separated by a single vote.

But representatives of the Conservative Party have filed challenges to six ballots that observers say appear to be cast in favor of Ms. Kabot, because the names written in were not exactly how Ms. Kabot spells her name. Those challenges, if upheld, could give Mr. Keith the line in November.

Board of Election officials, however, do not expect to finalize the results until next Monday or Tuesday at the earliest, forcing both candidates to wait a bit longer before knowing who will secure the line.

“There are six pending challenges, all based on misspellings,” Ms. Kabot said by phone from the Board of Elections offices in Yaphank on Tuesday afternoon. “I did not have any challenges. My position was that if it was close enough to Keith, and it was clearly not a ‘Kabot,’ I wasn’t going to object. There are 450 variations of my name, and I think they should all be honored.”

Ms. Kabot said the misspellings included attaching a “y” to her first name, or a “C” at the start of her last name. Some voters simply wrote in her last name, “Kabot,” on the ballot. Ms. Kabot said that because neither her husband, Lance, their son or any other person named Kabot has voiced an interest in seeking the Conservative line for supervisor, those single-name votes should go in her pile. She also pointed out that several ballots counted for Mr. Keith had similar misspellings or incomplete names that she did not object to.

By her own count, Ms. Kabot said she appears to have received 73 votes from people who clearly intended to write in her name. She said she counted 72 votes that appear to be for Mr. Keith.

Mr. Keith also said that he has been told that he has 72 verified votes and that, not including the challenged ballots, Ms. Kabot has 67 verified votes. He acknowledged that if all the challenged ballots are ruled valid, Ms. Kabot appears to have won the line.

“I am told it is too close to make a call,” Mr. Keith, a columnist for The Southampton Press, said on Tuesday. “This is all new to me.”

Board of Election officials said on Tuesday that it will likely be next Monday or Tuesday before a final certification is made in the race. The county is in the process of completing canvassing in other races across the county so that all challenges can be ruled on at the same time. One of the two commissioners who must rule on challenges is also away from the office this week because of a personal matter.

There were several other names written on ballots as well, Ms. Kabot said, though it is not clear whether all or any of them would be considered valid votes for a town supervisor candidate. Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst got two votes, neither spelled correctly. Former Southampton Town Police Officer Charles McArdle also received a vote, as did former Town Councilman James Drew and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, though that vote was cast only as “Spota III.” John Smith, Phillip Roberts and Dough Dwyer also received votes.

There were no names on the actual ballot last Tuesday, nor a Conservative Party line, nor a column for the town supervisor’s race. Ms. Kabot forced the no-name primary by filing a primary petition against the party’s straw man candidate, Howard Heckman III, and then getting Mr. Heckman’s own candidate petition thrown out due to legal challenges.

Mr. Keith, who never declared himself a candidate, was tapped by Conservative Party leaders as their preferred write-in candidate, rather than Ms. Kabot. On Tuesday, the party’s town leader, Councilman Jim Malone, represented the party and Mr. Keith for the canvassing.

Campaign Events

The Southampton Chamber of Commerce will hold its “Networking Buffet Breakfast” this morning, September 19, at the Southampton Social Club from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The breakfast will include a panel discussion with Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and supervisor candidates Linda Kabot and Phil Keith. Tickets are $30.

On September 21, Chris Nuzzi will hold a grand opening at his new campaign headquarters on County Road 39 in Southampton, across from the Hess gas station. The event starts at 10 a.m.. Coffee and bagels from new neighbor Goldberg’s Bagels will be served. There is no charge for the event and all are welcome.

Later on September 21, Southampton Town Council candidate Brad Bender will hold a “Wine, Roses & Jazz” party in the garden of his home in Northampton to raise money for his campaign. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a $50 donation is requested. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Go to bradbender.com/events for more information.

On Monday, September 23, the Hampton Bays Civic Association will hold its first meet the candidates forum for the candidates for Town Trustees and Suffolk County Legislature. The event starts at 7 p.m. in the town community center on Ponquogue Avenue in Hampton Bays.

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No matter how you slice it, Kabyt, Cabot, Kabit or, Cabyt should be a vote for Linda Kabot. Keith, Kieth, Kythe, Kithe is a vote for Phil Keith. It's time for us voters to stop allowing the party bosses decide who we voted for. I hope the board of elections allows all the votes and whoever has the most, wins.
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Sep 17, 13 6:12 PM
I concur. Just like a vote for Jimmy Balone would be a vote for Jim Malone...no matter how you slice it.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 17, 13 6:41 PM
Very true. These challenges are the obvious handiwork of the power hungry, unprincipled Conservative Party leaders, Malone and Walsh, who will look for every far fetched loophole for the sole purpose of derailing Kabot no matter what, every brainless and meaningless technicality they could find.

Apparently, the ever vindictive Malone has never emotionally recovered from his other illegitimate candidacy when he tried to run for Supervisor under the Republican Party with absolutely no rank ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Sep 17, 13 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
^^The pot calling the kettle black...Who was it that had the original Conservative candidate tossed from the ticket? Pleeeease...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 17, 13 10:02 PM
Pot calling the kettle black? This is a totally irrational idea. Are you equating the legal ineligibility of the previous Walsh "designated" candidate, without the Conservative voters' imprimatur, on the same plane as this official Party Primary where the voters will was heard. That is a total non sequitur.

Are you asserting that say an older person with poor vision who meant to write o and instead wrote i in writing Kabot should be totally nullified and not counted. I can go on and on ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Sep 17, 13 10:59 PM
This was the only local primary. The other parties' candidates were all designated as was the conservative party candidate. On a technicality of being ineligible because he had endorsed Cabit, she had him disqualified. Now the Kowbut, is complaining that the conservative party leaders questioning a handful of votes because of name spelling. Yes it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. What goes around comes around.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 18, 13 8:38 AM
Your parallelism of the two are very different and are conceptual non-sequiturs. The basis for the elimination of Heckman was one specifically proscribed by the rules and the Board of Elections had no choice, NO CHOICE, but to disqualify Heckman from further participation.

The basis for the attempted disqualification of six critical primary votes because of a minor misspelling where the voters' intent is manifest and could not be questioned is a pure technicality far removed from the Heckman ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Sep 18, 13 10:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm just a simple minded voter, I don't parse these fine points to make some cockeyed Clintonesque distinctions. Your still grasping at the fact that Kabot can challenge anything, but how dare anyone pose a challenge to her on a technical matter.

What's might be more relevant here is that less than 20 percent of this party could be bothered to come out and vote and only about 10 percent chose either way. Are these going to be the key votes to decide the next election?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 19, 13 4:03 PM
To Mr. Keith. People tell me that you are an honorable man and I have no reason to doubt that you are. Please do not let political vendettas mar this very important election. If you have more votes than Linda Kabot, then the line is rightly yours. But as you know and admit, Linda Kabot has received more votes but the party leaders are challenging spelling errors. Not confusing votes, but spelling errors. You, more than many people, realize the sanctity of the vote and should not allow others to ...more
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Sep 17, 13 10:13 PM
Lynda Kabot, Linda Cabot, and Kabot obviously reference Linda Kabot, but party pols, even on this trivial level, try to manipulate voter intent for partisan purposes.

Mr. Keith, the article appears to indicate that it wasn't YOU who challenged Ms. Kabot's returns. Do the honorable thing, concede. Don't allow yourself to be used by cynical Conservative Party apparatchiks. You will be admired for it.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 17, 13 10:58 PM
To MICHAEL WRIGHT the writer of this misspelling article.

Did you ever learn the english rule I before E except after C.

Please check your spelling.
By longislander40 (37), hampton bays on Sep 17, 13 11:22 PM
"misspelling article" Did you ever learn grammar?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Sep 18, 13 1:44 AM
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 18, 13 8:55 AM



Esplein yoseff . . .

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 18, 13 10:38 AM
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 18, 13 11:50 AM
In fact there were similar name misspellings on ballots for Mr. Keith, which Linda Kabot chose not to challenge. It is certainly within the right of the leadership of the Conservative Party to issue such challenges to their parties enrolled members write-ins, however Linda Kabot would not challenge a ballot for someone other than herself if it was clear who the voter intended to vote for.

Linda Kabot could have challenged approximately the same number of write-ins for Mr. Keith. She chose ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Sep 18, 13 10:32 AM
2 members liked this comment
There is a meet the candidates breakfast hosted by the Southampton Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. Perhaps Mr Keith will do the right thing and concede the conservative line to Linda Kabot at that breakfast despite the challenges by the political bosses. non sibi sed patriae
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Sep 18, 13 11:36 AM
Or in this instance, Non sibi, sed urbe.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 18, 13 11:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
"New York Election Law vests the courts with the power to determine, on a reasonable basis, the intent of the voter in casting his or her ballot for a "write in" candidate. This power stems from the right of the voter to be safeguarded against disenfranchisement and to have his or her intent implemented wherever reasonably possible." Guilianelle v. Conway, 265 A.D.2d 594 (1999).

Is there a Lynda Cabot who lives in the Town of Southampton ?

The only reason for Mr. Keith not to ...more
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Sep 19, 13 8:08 AM
Mr. Keith,
By allowing the court to decide this election based on misspelling errors, you lose either way. If they rule all the challenged votes for Linda Kabot void, then you will win by a narrow margin and lose the support of all who believe you an honorable man. Although you will have the Conservative line for supervisor, you will have only succeeded in helping Throne-Holst get re-elected. If, on the other hand, the challenged votes are counted, then Linda Kabot would get the line and you ...more
By fuou812 (59), Oakdale on Sep 19, 13 10:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Sep 19, 13 10:13 AM
horse hockey.

Challenging any and all issues that a candidate can is the way things are done in politics. Always has been, always will. Quite sure Mr. Tiger that while an elections commissioners you observed this more than once and did not question the integrity of the candidate posing the challenge. It is the way it is. Deal with it.
If someone is not capable of spelling Kabot or Keith, it is their loss.
Witch Hazel, nice comment, keeping it civil and adding to the debate is ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Sep 19, 13 10:29 AM
Nor did I do so here. Reread my comment.

I did however indicate that I could have raised similar challenges against Mr. Keith's write-ins, but Linda Kabot did not wish to do so.

As Commissioner I based my rulings on whether I could perceive the intent of the voter. As for the challenges here, they were clearly votes cast for Linda Kabot and I would have so ruled.

I believe Mr. Keith to be an honorable human being and enjoy reading his column, whether or not I agree with ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Sep 19, 13 12:48 PM
What a Tempest in a Teapot!

For the November Ejections . . . . .

***** NOTA *****

[None of the above]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 19, 13 10:29 AM
I'd rather watch paint dry than follow this "contest".
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 19, 13 10:34 PM
Don't give up Mr. Keith. If the numbers were that close, obviously you have a strong backing. Remember this is the same person that tried to throw you off the ballot.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Sep 19, 13 11:09 PM
Did a fuel company really win the chili cook-off? Oh wait, wrong article. I'll miss Barristers.
By Masticator (6), southampton on Sep 28, 13 6:00 AM