Nassau Board of Elections won’t count absentees, affidavits until next week

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Nassau Board of Elections won’t count absentees, affidavits until next week
The Nassau County Board of Elections won't begin to count absentee ballots until next week. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

With more than 22,000 absentee ballots and 1,200 affidavit ballots cast by residents remaining to be counted, officials from the Nassau County Board of Elections said they will not begin the task until next week.

While Suffolk County’s election board began counting such votes on Tuesday night, the deadline for absentee ballots to be submitted, Nassau County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner James Scheuerman said state officials required affidavit information to be submitted by Friday. Scheuerman said the election board “did not feel it was prudent” to begin counting the votes until Nov. 15 to make sure all the voter information was verified.

According to Scheuerman, 22,538 absentee ballots and the 1,200 affidavit ballots remained outstanding. Statistics provided by Scheuerman showed that 12,769 of the 22,538 absentee ballots returned to the county were submitted by registered Democrats, while 5,310 were submitted by registered Republicans.

Additionally, 2,796 absentee ballots were submitted by registered voters with no party preference. 

Voters who go to polling places who are not listed on the rolls can cast affidavit ballots, which are counted once they are verified as proper by election officials.

Despite outstanding ballots, some candidates in the county have already declared victory. 

Town of Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman, who leads Democratic County Executive Laura Curran by more than 11,000 votes, said he feels “confident” about the race despite Curran not being mathematically defeated yet. Curran, who received 124,008 votes compared with Blakeman’s 135,842, had not conceded as of Wednesday.

Jennifer DeSena, a registered Democrat running on the Republican and Conservative lines, currently holds a lead of more than 3,000 votes over Democrat Wayne Wink in the race for North Hempstead supervisor.  DeSena has been an advocate of bipartisan leadership to effectively serve the public. Wink, who has served as a town councilman and clerk along with being a county legislator, currently has 18,327 votes compared with DeSena’s 21,466.

In the Town of North Hempstead, a total of 4,740 absentee ballots were submitted, with 3,100 from registered Democrats and just 843 from registered Republicans, according to Board of Elections statistics.

The County Legislature could shift from an 11-8 majority in favor of Republicans to a 14-5 supermajority, as the fate of Democrat incumbents who are trailing their rivals depends on the absentee votes. 

Ellen Birnbaum, a Democrat representing the county’s 10th Legislative District, trails Republican challenger Mazi Melesa Pilip by more than 2,000 votes. Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo declared Pilip the victor on election night last week.

Democratic Legislator Arnold Drucker, who represents the county’s 16th Legislative District,  trails Republican challenger Daniel Alter by less than 300 votes and incumbent Josh Lafazan, an independent who represents the county’s 18th Legislative District and caucuses with the Democrats, trails challenger Paolo Pironi by 245 votes.

Other races, such as the one for district attorney, were not as close. Republican attorney Anne Donnelly, who received 155,554 votes, declared victory over state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach, who received 102,666.

Lawrence Levy, the executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said he attributes the “red wave” that hit Nassau County to many factors. State and national trends, he said, can play a larger role in local elections than some may think.

Levy referred to the 2009 county executive election in Nassau where Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi was defeated by Republican challenger Edward Mangano. Republican voters, Levy said, “were energized in the form of the Tea Party as a push back against Obamacare spending and liberals … were disappointed in Obama for not spending enough.”

Curran, he said, was the most recent victim of having national headwinds impact the more local races. Levy cited recent decreases in approval ratings for President Joe Biden and the abrupt end of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tenure as possible reasons for more voters wanting to side with Republican candidates.

The issues of reassessment and property taxes, two key pillars of Blakeman’s campaign for county executive, along with the hot topic of bail reform, which Donnelly used against Kaminsky, were some of the most powerful platforms for challengers to run on against their incumbent opponents.

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