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Few Clouds 42° Good Afternoon
OpinionColumnistsMichael Dobie

How Election Day is going

A competitive race for sheriff, the chance to elect a new district attorney and the con-con seem to be propelling voters in Suffolk.

Voters cast their vote at Great Hollow Middle

Voters cast their vote at Great Hollow Middle School in Nesconst on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo Credit: James Carbone

7 p.m. -- 

The latest turnout report is in for Suffolk County and it shows a huge increase in voters going to the polls on Tuesday.

As of 5 p.m., turnout in the county was 23.5 percent, an increase of a whopping 42 percent from 2013, the last comparable off-year election. The 5 p.m. turnout four years ago was 16.55 percent.

The difference was even more dramatic compared with 2015, another off-year. That election was topped by a county executive race, but this year’s turnout was 74 percent higher.

Influences include a competitive race for sheriff and the chance to elect a new district attorney in a campaign presenting real choices — recently indicted Thomas Spota, who declined to run after four terms, ran the final three times unopposed. But political insiders, social media organizing, and an admittedly unscientific sampling of the Newsday editorial board indicate that the constitutional convention proposition might be a prime energizer.

At midmorning at a West Babylon polling place, a poll worker reporting that turnout was strong said, “It’s the propositions.”

The con-con does not seem to be propelling voters in Nassau, however. Party leaders expect overall turnout to hover between 28 percent and 30 percent, not much of an increase from past off-year elections.

Unlike Suffolk, Nassau's Board of Election does not provide updates on turnout, but Democratic poll watchers reported anecdotally that turnout is a bit higher in the legislative districts of Democrats Kevan Abrahams, Siela Bynoe and Carrié Solages. Those are places such as Uniondale, Roosevelt, Hempstead, New Cassel, Westbury, Lakeview, Elmont and Valley Stream. That can be good news for Democrats, if, and it’s a big if, those numbers stay strong.

 

3 p.m. -- The first turnout report is in for Suffolk County, and it shows a huge gain in voters going to the polls.

As of noon Tuesday, turnout in the county was 9.85 percent, an increase of a whopping 39.5 percent from 2013, the last comparable off-year election. The noon turnout four years ago was 7.06 percent.

A competitive race for sheriff and the chance to elect a new district attorney in a campaign presenting real choices — recently indicted DA Thomas Spota, who declined to run after four terms, was unopposed in his final three runs — are probably playing a role. But political insiders — and an admittedly unscientific sampling of the Newsday editorial board — indicate that the constitutional convention proposition might be the prime energizer.

At midmorning at a West Babylon polling place, a poll worker reported that turnout was strong and added, “It’s the propositions.”

The same was true at a South Huntington polling spot, where a poll worker confirmed what the line of voters and the busy parking lot indicated: Turnout is more like a presidential year than a local year.

While turnout figures aren’t available in Nassau County, Democratic elections Commissioner Dave Gugerty said, “It’s a larger turnout compared to a similar year, for sure, but that’s anecdotally.”

And the con-con seems to be propelling voters there, too. At a Massapequa polling place, two voters waiting in an early afternoon line remarked to each other that they were there to vote down the constitutional convention. And a poll worker, eavesdropping, said she is not allowed to politick, but sje agreed with the pair, saying her pension was at risk, too.

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