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GOP challenges WFP lines in Suffolk; our latest vax map, and a big welcome

Voting booths at West Babylon Junior High School

Voting booths at West Babylon Junior High School on Nov. 3, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

Daily Point

GOP fights to keep some, but not all, Suffolk Dems from getting cross endorsements

There’s a ballot line battle brewing around the state about the ability of Democratic candidates to also appear on the Working Families Party line in the November election. And quite a few Suffolk County races are in the spotlight.

In New York’s confusing electoral system, candidates need a "Wilson Pakula" authorization to run on a different party’s ballot line, and Republicans are alleging that WFP paperwork for the exemption was photocopied and didn’t include genuine "wet" signatures from party officers. This, the GOP argument goes, should prevent certain Democrats from also getting the WFP line.

The WFP contends that it followed the rules for signing and notarizing during the pandemic. COVID-19-spurred photocopied signatures or e-signatures have been a big issue generally in many states and especially when it comes to election law.

"We remotely signed and notarized our Wilson Pakulas in compliance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.7, which allows for remote notarization during the current health crisis," a WFP spokesman told The Point. "We followed the guidelines correctly and are confident that our candidates will appear on the Working Families line."

There are at least a dozen of these lawsuits in counties around New York, said veteran Republican elections lawyer John Ciampoli, who is the attorney on several of the cases, including in Suffolk.

Suffolk Democrats don’t tend to draw huge numbers through the minor party line. But having fewer lines could be a concern in some districts, when the GOP candidates also have the Conservative line.

In Suffolk, the lawsuit names more than 35 candidates whose WFP lines could be at risk, including races for town supervisor in East Hampton, Huntington, and Riverhead, plus town council races in Islip, East Hampton, Huntington, Riverhead, Southampton, and Southold.

The Nassau GOP didn’t mount similar challenges about WFP lines, and in Suffolk, some candidates were not challenged, including county legislator hopefuls or incumbents Mark Cuthbertson, Kara Hahn, Sarah Anker, Robert Calarco and Samuel Gonzalez, and Southampton Town supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

Why were some candidates challenged and others not on Long Island? In Schneiderman’s case, the incumbent doesn’t have a GOP opponent. For some of the other candidates whose WFP lines aren’t being challenged, could there be a GOP rationale that conservative or moderate voters might be turned off by a candidate having the left-leaning WFP’s line?

Ciampoli declined to speculate about that, but said: "This is as much a political and tactical decision as a legal decision."

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

New Suffolk vaccine map revealing a COVID side effect: more people than Census count

As vaccination appointments have become more widely available, and the state begins to offer walk-in opportunities for those 60 and over, how’s Suffolk County doing in terms of getting shots in arms? Updated data from the county show that between April 6 and April 18, the number of county residents who received a shot increased by nearly 70,000, or 15.4%. In a few spots, the statistics also may be starting to reveal how many more people are residing in Suffolk than before the pandemic.

As of April 18, 522,377 Suffolk residents were at least partially vaccinated. That’s about 41.8% of the total pool of Suffolk residents who are eligible — which hovers around 1.25 million people.

To read more and interact with our map, click here.

—Randi F. Marshall and Kai Teoh @RandiMarshall and @jkteoh

Pencil Point

Earth Day

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Point of Thought

Money talks, but louder than pollsters?

If you look at the most recent polls from the New York City mayoral race, it’s easy to conclude that while former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a decent lead on the Democratic side, it’s far from insurmountable.

According to a NY1/Ipsos poll released Monday, Yang is pulling in 22% of the support among likely voters. That puts him well ahead of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at 13%, City Comptroller Scott Stringer at 11% and former Mayor Bill de Blasio aide and MSNBC commentator Maya Wiley at 7%.

Some of the others, including Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive; Shaun Donovan, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration; Dianne Morales, the former head of a non-profit; and Kathryn Garcia, former NYC Sanitation Commissioner, are barely registering with voters.

Looking at these polls, it’s easy to conclude that Yang’s lead is the kind that may be based strictly on high name recognition, and could easily fade. After all, at this point in the 2013 race de Blasio was trailing badly and Christine Quinn was considered the odds-on favorite.

But the betting pools have a different message.

On the site PredictIt, where players buy shares in a candidate for fractions of a dollar and win $1 per share if they pick right, Yang shares Thursday were running at 68 cents, making him a huge favorite.

Stringer is in second at 19 cents, then Adams at 11 cents and McGuire and Wiley at 5 cents each.

There is another wrinkle in the poll, though, that explains why Yang might be such a heavy betting favorite. This is the first year for ranked-choice voting, in which voters can pick up to five candidates in order of preference and if no one gets 50% of the first-choice votes, voters’ other choices come into play.

Leading the second-choice sweepstakes is Stringer, with 14%, but Yang is just a skosh behind with 13%. And if Yang’s advantage is simply name recognition, what does the importance of familiarity suggest about the Republican primary and the general election?

If there is a candidate who has more NYC name recognition in this race than Yang, it’s Curtis Sliwa, the Guardian Angels founder and radio personality who has been a fixture in the city for decades. You can buy shares of Sliwa, seeking the GOP nod, for 2 cents.

It’s a fine line between voters knowing candidates well enough to vote for them, and knowing them well enough not to.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Welcome Point

Introducing the newest member of the Editorial Board

The Point welcomes Dan Janison as a contributor to the newsletter and a member of Newsday’s editorial board. Here’s an excerpt from his first column for the Opinion section about the role of union endorsements in the New York City mayor’s race.

"Big-city mayoral races give municipal unions a unique forum in which to tout or fight the very candidates who would become top boss of their workplace. For tens of thousands of Long Islanders who work for New York City, but do not vote there, endorsements offer a collective bit of influence across the Queens border.

A bit, that is — but not too much. As a whole, the outsize attention to union endorsements gives very little hint of who will come out a winner."

To read the full column, click here.

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