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Long Beach GOP wants polling site reopened

Student arrive at Lindell Elementary School in Long

Student arrive at Lindell Elementary School in Long Beach Tuesday, for the first time since superstorm Sandy hit. (Nov. 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Beach Republicans want the Nassau County Board of Elections to reopen a polling place they say is critical to the party's success in next month's election.

Long Beach normally has six polling places in citywide elections, but superstorm Sandy closed West Elementary School.

The school normally hosts three election districts where Republicans have a greater percentage of registered voters than the rest of the Democrat-dominated city. The city has 24 districts.

West School has been rebuilt, and welcomed back students last month. But it is scheduled to remain closed to voters in the Nov. 5 election, and the three districts will be housed about a mile away at Lindell Elementary School, as they were in the Sept. 10 primary, election officials said.

The three Republican candidates vying for three seats on the city's Democratic-majority City Council say that is unfair to Republican voters. "We need to open it up for the residents of the West End, if nothing else, for a sense of normalcy," said candidate Janna Jachniewitz.

Slightly less than 52 percent of Long Beach's 23,949 voters are Democrats, compared with about 22 percent Republicans, county elections records show. But the three districts that normally vote at West School are 43 percent Democratic and 27 percent Republican, records indicate.

William Biamonte, Nassau's Democratic elections commissioner, does not support changing polling places between a primary and a general election. Biamonte and Republican commissioner Louis Savinetti would have to approve such changes.

"It's too late, and it's going to create nothing but confusion," Biamonte said.

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