Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997, initially as a staff writer for the New
Although it may mean little to the candidates or their parties, Nassau's county executive race appears for now to have drawn a slightly less-anemic voter turnout than did neighboring New York City's nationally hyped mayoral race.
In the immediate wake of Tuesday's balloting, numbers from county election officials showed a turnout of close to 29 percent, with 272,584 of 945,417 active registered voters casting ballots for executive. In 2009, the percentage was a bit better than that, with 263,946 out of 905,599 voting in the race.
The bottom line, a GOP victory, was the same in both contests. Republican Edward Mangano -- who four years ago defeated Democrat Thomas Suozzi by a fraction of a percentage point -- won this time by a resounding 59 percent to 41 percent.
In the city, Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's victory could be viewed as a tale of two measurements. From one perspective, he rolled up an eye-popping landslide, crushing GOP candidate Joe Lhota by 73-24 percent. But the participation levels ran counter to most people's vision of a popular uprising. Early tallies showed 1,026,169 out of 4,275,813 registered active voters coming out for the race, just shy of 24 percent, though officials said they expect the opening of absentee ballots in the final certification process to put final turnout above 25 percent.
When lame-duck incumbent Michael Bloomberg won a third term in 2009 over Democrat Bill Thompson -- which proved a closer contest than anticipated -- turnout was about 28 percent.
In September, de Blasio won his party's crowded primary with 40 percent -- out of the 24 percent of registered Democrats who voted.
But de Blasio did win the general election with 752,605 votes by the preliminary count -- more than Bloomberg's winning totals in 2001 and 2009 and close to his 2005 landslide total.
In Suffolk, the major parties ran the same three incumbents for countywide office, effectively killing the public's choice. As a result, more people voted for or against an upstate-oriented casino referendum -- nearly 21 percent of registered county voters -- than for district attorney, sheriff or county treasurer, for which participation seems to have run below 20 percent.
Concern over voter turnout is perennially expressed around the nation. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles mayoral election drew only 19.2 percent of registered voters, and in Philadelphia, the 2011 mayoral turnout was 18.3 percent, according to published reports.