Down-ballot election results

Down-ballot+election+results

Meiling Laurence, Staff Writer

On Nov. 3, Long Islanders flocked to the polls to make their voices heard in this year’s general election.  Others opted to vote early, either in-person or by mail, a choice that had only been hastily made possible for New Yorkers this spring, after the onset of COVID-19.  

Though for many the presidential ticket was top of mind, Port Washington voters weighed in on far more than just our next Commander in Chief when they cast their votes; they also voted to elect a slate of down-ballot candidates to represent our district in Congress, the New York State Senate, and the New York State Assembly. 

“I feel like people don’t think about these lower-level elections much.  When the presidential election is happening, the office of president is usually the main focus,” said junior Kayla Quan.

In typical years, county boards of elections announce the results not long after polls close.  However, this year has been anything but typical.  New York’s election was beset by widespread confusion, with many races still too close to call long after the election had ended.  This was largely the product of New York’s sudden introduction of absentee voting, which the state had previously only allowed under special circumstances.  Vote-counting has been sluggish, in part due to a rule that barred New York boards of elections from beginning to count absentee ballots until nearly a week after the election.

As a result, tens of thousands of absentee ballots were not yet counted, and the results of Port Washington’s down-ballot races remained muddy.  As of Nov. 25, about 85 percent of the votes have been counted so far.

“This year’s Election Day is unlike any other, and the climate of uncertainty that has pervaded the past few weeks is a telling result of that.  Since absentee ballots haven’t been counted, I have no idea who is going to represent me in government.  Nobody has conceded.  Nobody’s lost and nobody’s won.  I understand that patience is a virtue, but the uncertainty surrounding the elections is disheartening.  It just makes me tired, “ said junior Natalie Parker. 

Incumbent Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican challenger George Santos vied for the Congressional seat in New York’s third district, of which Port Washington is a part.  For over a week after Election Day, Santos led Suozzi by about 1.5 percentage points.  However, with only 72% of the estimated total votes reported, Suozzi remained undeterred in his confidence that he would pull ahead once absentee ballots were tallied. 

“To ALL of my constituents.  Please remain calm and patient.  In my race – the results from early voting and Election Day are close, but there are 90,000 absentee ballots to be counted.  The people who filed absentee ballots are approximately 51% Democratic, 17% Republican, and 32% other.  We feel good.  We will win,” Suozzi said in a series of tweets on Nov. 4 and 5.

Santos, meanwhile, bristled at his opponent’s confidence.  He projected strength, while implicitly questioning the integrity of mail-in ballots.

“My team and I left it all out in the district, now let’s wait patiently as the BOE counts every VALID ballot,” he said in a tweet on Nov. 4. 

However, when absentee ballot counting finally began nearly a week after Election Day, Suozzi quickly pulled into the lead, as his campaign had predicted.  Exactly two weeks after Election Day, Santos officially conceded the election.

“George Santos called me this morning to concede and congratulate me on my victory.  I thanked him for his call.  It is a great honor to serve as a Member of Congress and I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the people I represent,” said Suozzi in a press release on Nov. 17.

Incumbent Democratic State Senator Anna Kaplan also fended off a challenge from Republican Dave Franklin, the former Port Washington police commissioner.  Senator Kaplan declared victory in a press release on Election Day, after winning early and Election Day votes by 4,500, and with about 50% of absentee ballots coming from registered Democrats, compared to only about 20% from registered Republicans.

Franklin, however, was initially loath to concede and waited two weeks after Election Day, when more absentee votes had been counted, to do so. 

“This afternoon I received a call from Dave Franklin, who graciously called to concede and offer his congratulations on my re-election.  We had a nice chat, and I thanked him for his call and for running a spirited campaign.  Once again, I am extremely humbled and grateful to the voters of Nassau County for placing their trust in me to be their Senator for two more years.  I promise I won’t let you down!” said Kaplan in a press release on Nov. 17.

Finally, Democrat Gina Sillitti and Republican Ragini Srivastava competed in New York’s 16th Assembly District to replace current Democratic Assemblyman Tony D’Urso, who will retire after his term ends.  Initially, Srivastava led Sillitti in early and Election Day vote counts, but Sillitti slowly eclipsed Srivastava as absentee votes were tallied.  Sillitti declared victory on Nov. 18.

“I am grateful to the voters of the 16th Assembly District for their confidence in electing me to be their voice in Albany.  I’m ready to get to work to help Long Islanders overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy, and unify our community,” said Sillitti in a statement on Facebook.

Srivastava has yet to officially concede the election.

“This year has been… a lot, to say the least. As Election Day approached, I pessimistically braced myself for a series of disappointments, and since the day itself I have been figuratively holding my breath waiting for the results.  Hearing that local Democratic candidates like Tom Suozzi and Anna Kaplan won and that their opponents conceded is a true relief,” said Parker, who volunteered for Senator Kaplan’s reelection campaign.