Residents turned out in the 3rd Congressional District as early voting began Saturday. NewsdayTV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

The first of nine days of early voting in the special election to fill the unexpired term of expelled Rep. George Santos began Saturday.

Voters cast ballots in the 3rd Congressional District race featuring Republican-backed Mazi Melesa Pilip, of Great Neck, a two-term Nassau County legislator, and Democrat Tom Suozzi, of Glen Cove, the former congressman who previously held the 3rd District seat.

Eleven voting sites across Nassau County were open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and four sites in Queens were open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The early voting period runs through Feb. 11. 

The polling site at Town of Oyster Bay Town Hall South in Massapequa was busy around noon. Two would-be voters who went inside told Newsday they planned to come back later to avoid a long line, with other voters saying they waited between 15 and 20 minutes to vote. 

The circumstances that led to the special election — the expulsion of Santos — was a motivating factor for Gloria Arzu, of Westbury. She said the responsiveness of Suozzi in the community was among the reasons she voted for him.

Albert Diaz, 75, said he does not vote along party lines and casts a ballot “for someone who can do something for me." The Massapequa resident, however, said he has grown frustrated with the Democratic Party, saying, “They need to leave.”

James Scheuerman, Nassau’s Democratic Board of Elections commissioner, said in an interview Saturday night there were a total of 9,104 voters across 11 sites on the first day of early voting.

Of those voters, 48% — 4,327 — were registered Democrats. There were 2,837 Republican voters and 1,627 unaffiliated voters, he said.

Scheuerman said there were no major issues reported at polling places aside from an “occasional machine jam.”

Voters at several sites reported long lines, but Scheuerman said most were “minimal.” He said he waited in line for 12 minutes in Plainview before making his way to the ballot box.

“It was a little cold but the line was steadily moving,” he said “And I think it just goes to show the interest in this race, in a special election that we’re seeing this type of turnout on a cold Saturday in February.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul called for the special election to fill the term after Santos, a Republican, was forced from Congress on Dec. 1. A House ethics report accused him of defrauding campaign donors for personal profit. Santos also faces federal indictments related to his campaign fundraising and spending and left a litany of lies about his background that made international news.

At the Great Neck House community center, a steady stream of voters showed up to cast ballots.

Tana Williams, 84, of Manhasset, says she is typically an early voter and that civic duty drove her to the polls for the special election.

“I always just vote,” she said.

Crime was a concern for John Fu, 50, a self-proclaimed Republican from Great Neck.

“I think, right now, the Democrats go too extreme,” Fu said. “So many criminals on the street.”

Marjorie Lockwood, 78, of Great Neck, said she found issues with both candidates, but the topic of abortion helped sway her vote to Suozzi.

“I think it was the abortion thing on her [Pilip's] side,” said Lockwood. She might have been a swing voter, “but then I decided, 'No, she's not for me.' ”

The first of nine days of early voting in the special election to fill the unexpired term of expelled Rep. George Santos began Saturday.

Voters cast ballots in the 3rd Congressional District race featuring Republican-backed Mazi Melesa Pilip, of Great Neck, a two-term Nassau County legislator, and Democrat Tom Suozzi, of Glen Cove, the former congressman who previously held the 3rd District seat.

Eleven voting sites across Nassau County were open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and four sites in Queens were open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The early voting period runs through Feb. 11. 

The polling site at Town of Oyster Bay Town Hall South in Massapequa was busy around noon. Two would-be voters who went inside told Newsday they planned to come back later to avoid a long line, with other voters saying they waited between 15 and 20 minutes to vote. 

The circumstances that led to the special election — the expulsion of Santos — was a motivating factor for Gloria Arzu, of Westbury. She said the responsiveness of Suozzi in the community was among the reasons she voted for him.

Albert Diaz, 75, said he does not vote along party lines and casts a ballot “for someone who can do something for me." The Massapequa resident, however, said he has grown frustrated with the Democratic Party, saying, “They need to leave.”

James Scheuerman, Nassau’s Democratic Board of Elections commissioner, said in an interview Saturday night there were a total of 9,104 voters across 11 sites on the first day of early voting.

Of those voters, 48% — 4,327 — were registered Democrats. There were 2,837 Republican voters and 1,627 unaffiliated voters, he said.

Scheuerman said there were no major issues reported at polling places aside from an “occasional machine jam.”

Voters at several sites reported long lines, but Scheuerman said most were “minimal.” He said he waited in line for 12 minutes in Plainview before making his way to the ballot box.

“It was a little cold but the line was steadily moving,” he said “And I think it just goes to show the interest in this race, in a special election that we’re seeing this type of turnout on a cold Saturday in February.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul called for the special election to fill the term after Santos, a Republican, was forced from Congress on Dec. 1. A House ethics report accused him of defrauding campaign donors for personal profit. Santos also faces federal indictments related to his campaign fundraising and spending and left a litany of lies about his background that made international news.

At the Great Neck House community center, a steady stream of voters showed up to cast ballots.

Tana Williams, 84, of Manhasset, says she is typically an early voter and that civic duty drove her to the polls for the special election.

“I always just vote,” she said.

Crime was a concern for John Fu, 50, a self-proclaimed Republican from Great Neck.

“I think, right now, the Democrats go too extreme,” Fu said. “So many criminals on the street.”

Marjorie Lockwood, 78, of Great Neck, said she found issues with both candidates, but the topic of abortion helped sway her vote to Suozzi.

“I think it was the abortion thing on her [Pilip's] side,” said Lockwood. She might have been a swing voter, “but then I decided, 'No, she's not for me.' ”

When can Nassau voters cast ballots during early voting?

Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Feb. 11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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