MINEOLA - Hempstead's school board vote was argued in Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola today over a dispute involving absentee ballots.

Fred Brewington, representing losing school board candidate Maribel Route, says she was leading longtime board member Betty Cross Tuesday night until hundreds of last-minute absentee ballots appeared, making Cross the winner. Brewington accused Cross of stealing the election.  

In Thursday's hearing, Brewington argued many voters submitted suspicious handwritten notes and the district's clerk allowed hundreds of residents to submit absentee ballots. Brewington and Toure want the election results set aside, but lawyers for the school board deny any wrongdoing.

Judge Arthur Diamond told both sides he does not have the authority under state law to intervene in a school election. He ordered Hempstead to preserve all ballots and records for the state education commissioner to examine, which could take several weeks or months.