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Long Island Voters Cast Ballots on Election Day
Fewer voters than last Election Day are expected to turnout to choose their next Nassau County executive, legislators there and in Suffolk, as well as Long Island town-level races and referendum Tuesday.
Little to no lines were reported at polling stations in Islip, Oyster Bay and North Hempstead towns. But voters had to wait to cast their ballots in other places, like the City of Glen Cove, where the mayoral and city council races prompted increased local voter turnout.
“There’s no relaxing, this campaign isn’t about relaxing,” Democrat Tom Suozzi said after casting his vote as he tries to get his old job back from Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. “I tried that back in 2009. It didn’t work too well. I am working full speed until the last minute.”
All 19 seats of the Nassau legislature are up, as are their 18 counterparts in Suffolk, where three county-wide elected officials—district attorney, treasurer and sheriff—are running unopposed.
Aside from the Mangano-Suozzi rematch, former Howard Wietzman, a Democrat, is seeking a comeback against Nassau Comptroller George Maragos, the Republican who unseated him four years ago.
Republican Howard Sturim is challenging Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat, as she seeks a fourth term, and Democrat Laura Gillen is hoping to unseat Republican Nassau Clerk Maureen O’Connell.
Also on ballots are eight town supervisor races—including all three in Nassau and five in Suffolk, where two on the East End are uncontested.
Voters across New York State will additionally decide a half dozen referendums while Suffolk voters have also have up to two local propositions on the ballot.
The state referendums ask whether voters want to allow up to seven non-Indian gambling casinos, increase retirement ages for judges from 70 to 80, allow municipalities to continue borrowing beyond debit limits for sewage systems, add civil service credits for disabled veterans, allow a mine to expand in Adirondack Park and settle a land dispute there.
Proposition 7 in Suffolk will allow the county to transfer development rights it owns to fire, ambulance, police and library districts so they can expand while Southampton town voters will decide if an East Quogue homeowner can donate land in exchange for keeping part of property that was supposed to be preserved but was mistakenly developed.
Voters leaving the polls were enthusiastic despite the lighter turnout that is typical of the year after a presidential election.
“People have fought for the right to vote and I think it’s important,” Anthony LoMonaco said outside Islip High School. “We should try to be heard and if we forfeit that right then shame on us.”
Debbie McVey, who also cast her vote in Islip, disapproved of some of the pre-Election Day shenanigans, saying: “What’s gone on with zealous volunteers pulling signs up is disgraceful.”
Back in Glen Cove, 30-year-old Meridith Eaton bucked the trend in the city, Suozzi’s hometown, and cast her vote for Mangano. “I feel that he will lead us in the better direction,” she said.
In other election districts, turnout was brisk as of mid-day Tuesday.
“I think the weather helped,” said election inspector Dorothy Walsh, a Democratic committee woman at Laurel Avenue School polling place in Northport. “I think it’s as busy as it is for a presidential election. We haven’t stopped.”
Voters appeared split on their support for Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, a 20-year incumbent Democrat who’s fighting to keep his seat against Eugene Cook, a Republican town councilman.
“I’m registered as a Republican but I haven’t voted Republican since Reagan,” Russell Gomes of Northport said with a smile. “Anything that I see relating to the Tea Party goes right in the garbage without even looking at it. And this year I was heavily inundated with the cards in the mailing and they became overwhelming and I just kind of threw those away too because I pretty much know whom I’m going for.”
Anthony Sforza, another Northport resident and a registered Republican, said he was voting for Eugene Cook. “I think Frank Petrone has been there too long,” he said.
Joyce Sullivan, also of Northport, neither revealed her leanings nor made up her mind about the gambling initiative, the most controversial resolution on the ballot.
“I vote every time,” she said. “It’s my duty. Maybe if we all voted it would be a better country!”
Polls close at 9 p.m.