Absentee ballots for congressional primaries will take additional week to count: official

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the deadline to file absentee ballots for the state's June 23 primary elections on June 7 in light of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Although candidates hold early leads in primary election races for the 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts, the final tally of absentee votes may not be available until the end of next week, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections.

Bonnie Garone, counsel to the Democratic Board of Elections commissioner, said that the last day absentee ballots would be accepted is Tuesday, June 30.  Garone said the Board of Elections would begin counting absentee ballots on Wednesday.

“All things told it will probably take an additional week to fully count the absentee ballots,” Garone said in a phone interview. “At the very latest, the ballots will certainly be counted by the end of next week.”

As of Tuesday, the only votes that had been accounted for in the county and state’s Board of Elections results came from in-person votes that were cast on June 23.

On June 7, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the deadline to submit absentee ballots for the congressional primary races until the day of the election on June 23.  To be counted, the absentee ballots for the primary must be postmarked by June 23, state officials said.

Cuomo previously issued executive orders allowing all New Yorkers to vote on an absentee basis in the June 23 primaries and ensured that every registered voter throughout the state received a postage-paid absentee ballot application in the mail due to the coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, and while we are making great progress and the numbers keep going down, no New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Cuomo said.

Garone said the county Board of Elections has followed and will continue to follow the orders from Cuomo and the state regarding protocols for election processes, including the general elections in November.

“This is unprecedented territory that none of us have ever seen or experienced before,” Garone said. “Sending out absentee ballots or how future elections are conducted are not up to us. It is governed by state law.”

Efforts to reach a representative from Cuomo’s office were unavailing.

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) was leading by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over Melanie D’Arrigo and Michael Weinstock in the 3rd Congressional District, according to figures provided by the Board of Elections.

Early results from the Board of Elections showed Suozzi leading the field, with 59 percent of the vote. D’Arrigo was in second place with 34 percent, and Weinstock in third with 7 percent.

Officials indicated that 16,815 votes had been counted so far.  The Suozzi campaign gave a total of 16,447.

The 3rd District includes Manhasset, Roslyn, Port Washington, Great Neck and Floral Park, among other areas, and stretches from Whitestone, Queens, to Kings Park in Suffolk County. The winner of the primary will face Republican nominee George Santos of Queens in November; he ran unopposed.

The Board of Elections reported that Douglas Tuman, the commissioner of engineering in the Town of Hempstead, took an early lead in the contest for the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) in the 4th Congressional District.

With thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted, the board reported that Tuman had received 5,217 votes, and his opponent, Cindy Grosz, a columnist, radio personality and Jewish activist, had received 1,766.

The 4th Congressional District is situated in central and southern Nassau County, including Floral Park, Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park and Westbury.

In the 3rd Congressional District race, Weinstock, of Great Neck, conceded to Suozzi on Thursday, according to an email he sent to Blank Slate Media.

“I called Congressman Suozzi and congratulated him on his impressive victory,” Weinstock wrote. “We had an engaging conversation and I told him that I look forward to voting for him and Joe Biden in November.”

A 9/11 first responder, former firefighter and prosecutor, Weinstock placed third behind health care advocate and Democratic campaign volunteer Melanie D’Arrigo of Port Washington in second place and  Suozzi in first place.

In a thread on Twitter, Suozzi thanked Weinstock for his call and confirmation of support for the congressman in November, calling it “gracious.”

“I also offered to try and be helpful to [Weinstock] in the future if he continues to pursue public service,” Suozzi wrote. “Everyone can take a lesson from Michael. When the primaries are over, to win in November, to make Joe Biden the President, to take the Senate and to maintain the House, we all need to unite and work together to change the direction of our country.”

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