Final tally in some local races hangs in the balance with absentee ballots still being counted

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Final tally in some local races hangs in the balance with absentee ballots still being counted
An unknown amount of absentee ballots gave yet to be counted as the fate of several local elections hangs in their balance. (Image courtesy of Flickr)

Though four local elections on Long Island have been called, the final tally in other races is uncertain with an unknown number of absentee ballots still being counted three weeks after the election.

Efforts to reach the Nassau County and New York state election boards to provide the number of outstanding absentee ballots to determine local races have been unavailing since Nov. 4. State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), deputy leader of the Democratic majority, expressed his frustrations to The New York Times last week.

“If we were a swing state in this presidential election, we would be getting ridiculed across the world right now,” Gianaris told The Times. “Florida, with all its terrible history of vote counting, manages to count votes before and on Election Day, even if they were mailed in.”

Nassau Democratic Elections Commissioner James Scheuerman said weeks ago that 142,962 absentee ballots were cast in Nassau County this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, a figure that shatters the previous record of 48,000 in 2016. Mailed ballots began to be counted Nov. 10, a week after the election, under state law.

Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the county and state Democratic committees, said before the election that he expected delays to occur after the experience of the primaries. 

“I think it will happen again,” Jacobs said. “I can’t see how something in the area of two million absentee ballots aren’t going to overtax the system.”

CONGRESSIONAL RACES

Following the counting of absentee ballots, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) won another term in the 3rd Congressional District over Republican challenger and financial professional George Santos of Queens. 

While vote counts immediately following Election Day placed Santos over the incumbent congressman by more than 4,000 votes, absentee ballots gave Suozzi a final total of 126,008 votes to Santos’ 97,575 in Nassau County and the borough of Queens as of Wednesday. Suffolk County has yet to announce its final results, though Santos held a 6,005-vote lead over Suozzi, with 52,117 votes compared with Suozzi’s 46,112.

The former mayor of Glen Cove and former Nassau County executive will serve a third term in office, with his district representing Manhasset, Roslyn, Port Washington, Great Neck and Floral Park, among other areas, and stretching from Whitestone, Queens, to Kings Park in Suffolk County.

In the 4th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) declared victory on Nov. 4 over Town of Hempstead Engineering Commissioner and Republican Douglas Tuman of West Hempstead. She received 199,012 votes, or 56 percent, to Tuman’s 152,573, or 43 percent, so far. 

Neither campaign responded to a request for comment, and it is not yet known if Tuman has conceded. 

The 4th Congressional District is situated in central and southern Nassau County, and includes Floral Park, Mineola, Garden City, New Hyde Park, Hempstead, Carle Place and Westbury. If declared the winner, Rice will serve a fourth two-year term.

STATE LEGISLATURE RACES

State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) defeated former Port Washington Police Commissioner David Franklin, a Republican, in the 7th Senate District. She received 89,034 votes, or over 57 percent, while Franklin got 66,020, or 43 percent.

Kaplan, who first won against then-incumbent Elaine Phillips of Flower Hill in 2018, will serve a second two-year term representing the areas of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Williston Park, Mineola, Garden City Park, North Hills, Albertson, Old Westbury, East Hills, Roslyn, Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn Estates, Albertson, Searingtown, Lake Success, Manhasset, Munsey Park, Plandome, Plandome Heights, Plandome Manor, and the entireties of the Great Neck and Port Washington peninsulas.

In the 13th Assembly District, Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), continued to lead attorney and Republican candidate Andrew Monteleone of Syosset by 63 percent of the vote to Monteleone’s 37 percent. Lavine received 39,300 votes to his opponent’s 22,932. 

Neither candidate has declared victory or conceded as of yet. The district includes Roslyn, Greenvale, Sea Cliff, Glen Cove and parts of East Hills and Westbury, and if declared the winner Lavine will serve an eighth term.

In the 16th Assembly District, 20-year government employee and Democratic nominee Gina Sillitti of Manorhaven overtook Republican candidate and small-business owner Ragini Srivastava of Manhasset Hills after coming in short the day after the election. 

Totals from the Nassau County Board of Elections showed that Sillitti had amassed 35,414 votes, or 53 percent, to Srivastava’s 30,219 votes, or 45 percent.

The district includes Great Neck, Port Washington, Manhasset, Roslyn Heights, North Hills, Flower Hill, Lake Success, Baxter Estates, Manorhaven and Sands Point. The winner will succeed two-term Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-New Hyde Park), who announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

In the 19th Assembly District, Assemblyman Edward Ra (R-Garden City) continued to lead attorney and retired Army Lt. Col. Gary Port of West Hempstead. Ra received 38,464 votes, or 59 percent, and Port received 26,779, or 41 percent. 

Neither candidate had declared victory or conceded as of Wednesday morning, and requests for comment to both campaigns were unavailing.

The district includes Glen Head, Old Brookville, Old Westbury, New Hyde Park, Williston Park, Garden City Park, Garden City South, Garden City and Mineola, and if decided in Ra’s favor will mean a sixth two-year term in the Assembly.

NATIONAL RACE

After initial election night results had him down by more than 6,000 votes, Democratic President-elect Joe Biden had a commanding lead in Nassau County over Republican President Donald Trump, winning by nearly 70,000 votes as absentee ballots continued to be counted.

As of Wednesday, Biden had received 392,034 votes, or 53.9 percent, compared with Trump’s 324,858, or 44.7 percent.

Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen received 3,566 votes, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins received 1,896 votes, Independent candidate Brock Pierce received 1,885 votes, and 2,096 write-in votes were submitted in the county.

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