Absentee ballots by the numbers
With a dramatic election approaching, Long Island requests for absentee ballots are pouring in, with more Democrats doing the asking than Republicans.
Nassau County's Board of Elections had logged 106,729 requests as of Tuesday morning, and Suffolk charted just under 113,000 by Monday. Data from both counties shows that for this pandemic-affected election, more than twice as many Democrats requested ballots as Republicans.
The request numbers mean that some 10% of active and inactive registered Long Island voters already have asked for ballots, according to state enrollment figures.
Both counties have hit send on military absentee ballots. In Nassau, regular absentee ballots already started hitting the mail, according to Democratic elections commissioner James P. Scheuerman.
In Suffolk, the first non-military ballots will go out on Monday, Sept. 28, says Republican commissioner Nicholas LaLota.
A good portion of the demand comes from a new option to get your ballot. Scheuerman said the new state web portal for requesting a ballot was resulting in a high number of requests: some 1,700 on average, per day.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Suozzi adopts a county in PA
For Monday evening’s Zoom programming, Rep. Tom Suozzi hosted "From Long Island to Luzerne," the launch event for a series of phone-banking sessions that the CD3 incumbent is launching for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
With the presidential result not much in question in New York, Suozzi urged Long Islanders who wanted to make a difference to spend time dialing into Luzerne, Pennsylvania, an important swing county that Suozzi says "matters a lot" in the national election.
Indeed: President Barack Obama won it twice while Hillary Clinton lost it in 2016 by 26,237 votes. That margin in one county alone made up more than half of President Donald Trump’s slim lead in the state last time around.
On a personal level, the former Glen Cove mayor said he’d been to a wedding in the county once and knew a fellow mayor in its midst.
The event started with more than 150 people expressing interest in virtual door-knocking for persuadable voters in the swing state. Suozzi said there were ultimately 49 callers and 1,200 calls made in the first phone-banking effort.
Suozzi said the group would be calling into its adopted county every Tuesday and Thursday through Election Day.
"We're gonna get this group bigger and bigger and bigger as we approach the election," he said.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
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Behind the (election season) scenes
’Tis endorsement season for Newsday Opinion, and it’s the busiest part of our year, much like tax time for accountants or final exams for teachers.
Each fall, the editorial board interviews dozens of candidates running for local, state and national offices and endorses those we think can best serve Long Islanders. It’s a tradition at Newsday that dates to our founding in 1940 (here’s a look at all the presidential endorsements the editorial board has made since then).
Due to the pandemic, this year’s process looks a bit different as candidates will not come to our office for in-person meetings. The board will interview candidates remotely, using Zoom and the telephone, and we invite you to look in as we do on our social platforms. We will share audio and video from these meetings on Instagram and Twitter, where you can hear from the candidates and direct-message us your takes.
All of this will live in a highlight on our Instagram profile here. So far, we’ve interviewed congressional candidates Doug Tuman, Andrew Garbarino, Nancy Goroff, Jackie Gordon, George Santos and incumbent Tom Suozzi. We expect to wrap up the federal races early next week. Make sure to follow the handle NewsdayOpinion on Instagram and on Twitter to come along with us and interact.
And stay tuned: Once the editorial board starts making endorsements in the upcoming weeks, we will release an interactive ballot where you can type in your address and see the candidates we endorsed in your district.
—Amanda Fiscina @adfiscina