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Manorhaven election remains undecided as voting machines impounded

Left to right, challenger and former trustee James

Left to right, challenger and former trustee James M. Avena, Deputy Mayor Lucretia Steele and challenger John S. Popeleski are in a tight race for a trustee spot in the Manorhaven Village election. Photo Credit: Courtesy Lucretia Steele / Barry Sloan

The Manorhaven Village election remained unresolved for another day after the Nassau County Board of Election officials impounded voting machines Wednesday.

Incumbent Rita Di Lucia received 438 votes, more than any other candidate in the race for two trustee spots in Tuesday's election, village clerk-treasurer Leslie Gross said. But the remaining three candidates tallies' were within four votes of one another: challenger and former trustee James M. Avena received 415 votes; Deputy Mayor Lucretia Steele, 412; and challenger John S. Popeleski 411.

Three ballots received early Tuesday were in dispute and a state Supreme Court Justice ordered them kept unopened unless counting them could alter the results of the election, Gross said. Two absentee ballots also are in dispute, she said.

The elections board impounded the machines and a bipartisan group of officials from the Nassau County Board of Elections will begin recounting the votes Thursday, said David Gugerty, the Democratic commissioner for the elections board.

"An undetermined number of paper ballots have been delivered today to the Board of Elections from Manorhaven, and the machines that were used in [Tuesday's] election have all been returned and have been locked in a secure area at the Board of Elections," Gugerty said.

Election results in nearby Great Neck were much clearer with the defeat of four-term incumbent Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, who Wednesday promised to assist his successor in the transition.

Dr. Pedram Bral, director of minimally invasive and robotic gynecologic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center, unseated Kreitzman 1,040-391.

Bral, 45, said in an interview Wednesday that he would convene town-hall-style meetings "to get everybody's input . . . I'd like to know their concerns."

Kreitzman, 69, an attorney, thanked residents of what is known as the "Old Village" among nine on the Great Neck Peninsula in an emailed statement. He said he was "humbled and proud of our many accomplishments and of the significant resident involvement" during his tenure as mayor of the village of roughly 10,000 residents.

"I do not know how to adequately express my feelings for my dedicated and hardworking trustees," he said.

Bral's running mates on the Voice of the Village ticket, Anne Mendelson and Raymond Plakstis Jr., unseated trustees Mitchell Beckerman and Jeffrey Bass. Bral and Mendelson in 2013 were part of a surprise write-in slate that nearly ousted Kreitzman and his running mates.

Anne Mendelson said in an interview Wednesday that "we hope to implement the different ideas we talked about during the campaign."

Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar, 72 and a village resident for 43 years who managed Bral's two campaigns, said candidates had reached out to homes on 145 village streets.

"Every street in this village was covered on foot," Gilliar said.


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