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Manorhaven trustee election results show 1-vote lead by challenger after disputed ballots counted

A challenger in the unresolved Manorhaven election for village trustee led the deputy mayor by one vote after the Nassau County Board of Elections counted three disputed ballots Tuesday.

James M. Avena has 416 votes, compared to Deputy Mayor Lucretia Steele's 415, village clerk-treasurer Leslie Gross said.

Election board officials met with Avena, attorneys, and village officials to count the votes at the office's Mineola headquarters. Steele did not attend.

Results immediately after the June 16 election had Avena leading Steele, 415-412, but five ballots were in dispute. Incumbent Rita Di Lucia had been the top vote-getter in the race with 438 votes.

The Board of Elections ruled right after the election that one of the five ballots should be counted, giving Avena a 415-413 edge.

State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Driscoll later last month approved counting two more of the disputed ballots.

On Monday, Driscoll authorized a fourth ballot to be counted, while saying the fifth was not to be considered because the voter had moved out of the village, according to Democratic Commissioner David Gugerty.

The village has yet to certify the results pending a possible appeal on the tossed-out ballot, Gross said.

William Duffy, a Patchogue-based attorney representing Steele, said he planned to file a notice of appeal Wednesday.

Two ballots recounted Tuesday morning were for the team of Di Lucia and Steele, of the Manorhaven Revival Party, while another was for Avena and his running mate, challenger John S. Popeleski, who had 411 votes and is not in the running for the two seats.

The election could alter the village power structure. Avena, a former trustee, failed in a bid to unseat Mayor Giovanna Giunta by 15 votes last year, while two of his trustee running mates unseated incumbents who had run with Giunta, also of the Manorhaven Revival Party.


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