Election Day Update: Zeldin Declares Victory, Palumbo Holds Broad Lead

A patriotically-dressed voter picks up his ballot at the polling station at the Sag Harbor firehouse on Election Day morning. MICHAEL HELLER

UPDATE: Zeldin Declares Victory Over Goroff

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and State Senate candidate Anthony Palumbo, both Republicans, held a wide leads in their respective races over their Democratic challengers in the counting of votes cast in-person on Election Day and during early voting.

Mr. Zeldin declared victory over Nancy Goroff shortly after 11:30 on Tuesday night, with his lead standing at some 65,000 votes and the vast majority most of election districts reporting their results.

“I am deeply honored and humbled that the families of Long Island have entrusted me to continue representing our great Congressional District,” he said. “As America enters its next chapter, I am confident we will defeat the coronavirus and continue growing our economy. To achieve these goals, that means working across the political aisle. Having been ranked the 12th most bipartisan Congressman in America by Georgetown University and the Lugar Center, I look forward to continuing to do my part to make those goals a reality.”

Ms. Goroff had yet to concede the race as of midnight.

Huge numbers of absentee ballots remain to be counted next week, but both Mr. Zeldin and Mr. Palumbo have built up leads that, while technically vulnerable, appear to likely be unassailable.

Mr. Zeldin captured about 61 percent of the ballots cast in person Tuesday and over the last two weeks of early voting. As of Tuesday, there were about 65,000 absentee ballots being held by the Suffolk County Board of Elections and as many as 44,000 still outstanding that could potentially be received and added to the tally, though many of those may have been held by people who ended up voting at the polls.

About 31,000 of those ballots received thus far were returned by Democrats, while registered Republican and Conservative voters account for about 16,000. More than 15,000 absentee ballots were received from voters who are not registered with any political party.
New York State rules also allow that absentee ballots may be received and counted by the Board of Elections up to a week after Election Day, as long as they were mailed and postmarked on or before Election Day itself.

Because of this, the Board of Elections will not even start counting absentee ballots for several days, a process that could take two to three additional days once counting has begun — or longer if there are challenges to the validity of ballots from any candidates.

Mr. Palumbo holds a nearly 19,000 vote margin over his opponent Laura Ahern. As of Tuesday morning, the BOE had received 31,771 absentee ballots in the district that has been represented by Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle, a Republican, for the last 33 years. About 15,000 of those ballots were from Democrats and about 7,800 were from Independence Party or unaffiliated voters.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. seemed poised to win reelection fairly easily. Mr. Thiele, who is registered with the Independence Party, leads his Republican challenger, Heather C. Collins by about 3,500 votes in a district where Democrats dominate the absentee ballot returns.

The race for Southampton Town Justice may still be too close to call. Republican Candidate Patrick J. Gunn leads by a little more than 200 votes, but there are some 6,400 absentee ballots from Soutampton residents left to be counted, nearly half of which came from Democratic voters.

UPDATE: 9:15 P.M.: New York Polls Close

Polls in New York State closed at 9 p.m. and vote tallies should start rolling in shortly, though with more than 120,000 absentee ballots to count and tens of thousands more still potentially to come in, results in most races of local interest are unlikely to be called definitively tonight — or even this week.


UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Broken Voting Machines In Bridgehampton Fixed

Board of Elections officials say that two voting machines at the Bridgehampton Community House that broke in the early hours of voting this morning have been repaired by BOE staff and are fully functional now.

“A tabulator and a ballot marking device were malfunctioning this morning in Bridgehampton,” BOE employee James Anthony said in a message at 10 a.m. “We sent a technical crew and both machines were repaired. The site is fully operational.”

While the machines were out of order, poll workers had voters fill out their ballots like normal and deposit them in ballot boxes to be counted later.

Poll Worker Caroline Cutaia celebrates after helping Billy Sonenfield cast his ballot at the polling station at the Sag Harbor firehouse on Election Day morning. MICHAEL HELLER

Beyond the hiccup in Bridgehampton, reports from local polling places have been of smooth operations. Some lines in the early hours of voting have faded while some other locations are still seeing waits of about 15 minutes to cast ballots.

Those dropping off absentee ballots already filled out do not have to wait on line and may go directly to the drop boxes at each polling place.

More than 240,000 Suffolk County voters have already cast their ballots: 120,799 at early voting polling places and another 120,000 have returned absentee ballots already. There are more than 87,286 absentee ballots still outstanding as well. Mailed ballots in New York State can be counted if received after Election Day as long as they are postmarked November 3 or earlier.

ORIGINAL STORY, Tuesday 7 a.m.

Voters across the country, and on the East End, head to the polls on Tuesday, November 3, to cast ballots for president and a number of local races.

Many local polling places saw lines of voters queued up when their doors opened, even as election officials say that hundreds of thousands of voters have already cast their ballots through early voting and greatly expanded absentee ballot use this year. More than 91 million people nationwide have had already cast ballots before Election Day polls even opened.

There have been some problems reported. The ballot scanning machines at the Bridgehampton Community House polling place malfunctioned barely an hour into voting and paper ballots were being collected in boxes by poll workers there to be counted by Suffolk County Board of Elections staff later.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, following over a week of early voting. A record number of mail-in absentee ballots have already been filed or are expected to be submitted or postmarked by Tuesday.

At the top of the ballot is the presidential race between incumbent President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Voters fill out their ballots at the polling station at the Sag Harbor firehouse on Election Day morning. MICHAEL HELLER

The marquee local race is the contest for the 1st Congressional District between incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff.
Down the ballot there is a race for the New York Senate seat long held by Republican Kenneth P. LaValle, which is now being sought by Republican candidate Anthony Palumbo and Democratic candidate Laura Ahearn.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. is seeking reelection to the assembly seat he has held for more than 20 years and is being challenged by Republican Heather Collins.

In Southampton Town, Democrat Karen Sartain and Republican Patrick Gunn are competing to for a seat on the Town Justice bench. Ms. Sartain is currently on the bench, having been appointed to fill out the term of Town Justice Andrea Schiavoni, who was elected to the Suffolk County Family Court last year.