Voting game's no 'Game of Thrones'

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A voter entering a voting booth at Asharoken

A voter entering a voting booth at Asharoken Village Hall. Photo Credit: Newsday/Jim Peppler

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has

I'm thinking of adding Tyrion Lannister, a "Game of Thrones" character, as my write-in candidate for Suffolk County district attorney -- and for county sheriff and treasurer, too.

Because of cross-endorsements by Republican, Democratic and minor-party leaders, Suffolk County voters have the choice of only one candidate for the three countywide positions on the ballot Tuesday: incumbent Thomas Spota for district attorney, incumbent Vincent DeMarco for sheriff and incumbent Angie Carpenter for treasurer.

It's not that I don't like the candidates -- it's that I hate having no choice. A write-in vote could convey that displeasure to party leaders better than not voting at all.

Judicial candidates present another problem, for different reasons.

New York State has an insane way of choosing judges. The candidates generally don't take positions on issues. And there's no way of knowing whether a candidate is up for the job because he or she really knows their stuff, or because they're on the ballot as a political reward.

My admittedly imperfect solution? For years, my children, beginning as preschoolers, made the choices for judge, though not always, as there were times when I had enough information to pick or go against a particular candidate.

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But that was rare. Most of the time, like most voters, I had no real idea who would make the better judge.

One result: My children -- the youngest reached voting age this year -- are polling place veterans who LOVE to research their candidates and who LOVE to vote, be it in school, county, state or federal contests.

That's a good thing for them, society and for their generation, although I am left now to make every judicial decision on my own. That's why I paid particular attention Sunday to judicial candidates in Newsday's Voters Guide, also available at

Voter turnout Tuesday is expected to be low across Suffolk and Nassau counties -- possibly even in the region's top contest for Nassau County executive between incumbent Republican Edward Mangano and Democrat Thomas Suozzi.

This is an "off-year" election, in which there are no hot congressional or presidential contests.

But, really. How much power does a member of Congress or the U.S. president exert on the day-to-day operation of the multiple layers of government on Long Island?

More of those decisions are made by town supervisors, city mayors, county and town council members, and local district attorney's and county executives.

OK, so maybe I won't write in Tyrion Lannister (for my money, the toughest, most conniving and smartest character in "Game of Thrones"). He's already got enough to handle in Kings Landing.

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Nonetheless, there are adventures galore to be had in a local polling place -- kind of like everyone joining in a real-time gaming tourney, backing their champion and checking back later to see which won.

Or call it what it is: a civic right and responsibility.

Either way, vote Tuesday.

The region will be better for your effort.

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