Voters and candidates headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the NY gubernatorial primary, Newsday TV Jamie Stuart reports. Credit: Newsday

Polling sites for the statewide primary election closed at 9 p.m.

Throughout Tuesday, voters slowly trickled into polling sites across Long Island to vote in-person in Democratic and Republican primaries, an opportunity to choose their party's nominee for general elections in November.

Turnout appeared to be low, according to county election officials.

As of noon, 57,279 ballots had been cast in the two counties — 17,880 in Nassau and 39,399 in Suffolk.

Those numbers include 8,476 Democrats and 9,404 Republicans in Nassau; and 16,541 Democrats and 22,858 Republicans in Suffolk, county election officials said.

Inside the Nassau County office building polling site on Old Country Road in Mineola most people entering and exiting the building were county employees and people conducting business with the county.

Gov. Kathy Hochul got two votes from Denice and Michael Wiener of Mineola, registered Democrats who cast their ballots. The Wieners said they trusted the incumbent and had been impressed with her since she took office last year.

“I like that she speaks her mind,” said Denice Wiener, 74, a retired actress who recently appeared in a commercial for a utility company. “And she really seems to me to really want to do things for the people.”

“I think the women are doing a great job in politics,” said Michael Wiener, 83, a musician who goes by the stage name “Mr. Bongoz.”

“They can’t be corrupted," he said. 

At the Gordon Heights firehouse, Republican Pat Kelly said he was hoping the state would restore what he called “old conservative values.”

Kelly, 70, a retiree who works part time in private security, would not say for whom he was voting, saying it was a private matter. But he ticked off the issues that most concerned him.

“Number one, the economy, no doubt about it,” he said. “The border. Gas."

Kelly, who lives in Medford, also said he was worried about crime and opposed bail reform.

He said he was upset about "all the stuff about the people getting away with stuff because no one wants to prosecute it."

More than 178,000 New Yorkers, including 23,642 Long Islanders, cast ballots for the primary through early voting that ended Sunday, according to the state Board of Elections.

In Nassau County, 14,923 residents voted early — 9,268 Democrats and 5,655 Republicans

In Suffolk County, 8,719 voted early — 4,274 Democrats and 4,445 Republicans.

In heavily Democratic New York City, a total of 86,890 voters cast early ballots.

The turnout in early voting was expected to be light. Early voting often attracts about 2% of the total vote statewide.

At the top of the Democratic primary ballot, Hochul of the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg faces Rep. Tom Suozzi of Glen Cove and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.

Hochul’s appointed lieutenant governor, former Hudson Valley Rep. Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, faces a Democratic primary from Ana Maria Archila of New York City and Diana Reyna of Brooklyn.

Republicans vying for the GOP nomination for governor are former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, former Trump administration adviser Andrew Giuliani of Manhattan, business owner Harry Wilson of Scarsdale and Rep. Lee Zeldin of Shirley.

Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Alison Esposito, faces no primary challenge. She will be the running with the winner of the GOP primary for governor when they campaign for the Nov. 8 general election.

There also are two Republican primaries for local races in Suffolk County. County Clerk Judith Pascale, 74, of Moriches, is facing Vincent Puleo, 68, of Nesconset, the Smithtown clerk.

And in the 4th Assembly District, Edward Flood, 40, of Port Jefferson Village, an assistant town attorney for the Town of Brookhaven, is facing Thomas Wiermann, 48, of Port Jefferson Station, a former physical education and health teacher with the New York City Department of Education.

Political strategists say low turnout in races with more than two candidates are hard to predict because a plurality of the vote rather than a majority can deliver the win.

Early voting was first allowed in New York in 2019. Back then, 256,251 voters cast ballots statewide before Election Day, including 30,018 in Nassau County and 17,012 in Suffolk County. But early voting gained interest since then as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state and early voting along with more mail-in voting helped spread the vote over several days to lower crowds at the polls.

In the 2020 election year, which included the presidential race, more than 2.5 million New Yorkers voted in the general election through early voting over nine days.

"New Yorkers across the state took advantage of early voting this primary season with minimal problems,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause-NY, which closely follows elections and voting. “Over time, like in other states, we expect to see even more voters vote early as it becomes habit forming. Early voting allows parents, students, seniors, working people, and the differently abled to cast their ballots on their own schedule without missing other commitments.”

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