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Opinion

Off to the races

A Town of Oyster Bay baseball field.

A Town of Oyster Bay baseball field. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Happy Election Day from The Point!

Poll Point

The numbers so far

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.

Michael Dobie

Pointing Out

Youth leagues foul out

The bottomless pit of Oyster Bay politics sucked in two more victims on Election Day.

Emails sent under the headings of two youth sports leagues Tuesday morning asked parents to vote for specific Republican candidates.

In one email, the board of directors of Oyster Bay Baseball and Softball went to bat for incumbent Supervisor Joseph Saladino and incumbent county Legis. Donald MacKenzie. In the other email, Oyster Bay East Norwich Soccer Club president Stella Leandrou kicked in by asking soccer families to support MacKenzie.

The problem: Both groups are 501(c)(3) organizations, which are barred by law from intervening in political campaigns. Endorsing candidates is not allowed, according to IRS rules. Whether they sent the emails on their own or received bad advice to do so, both organizations have jeopardized their tax-exempt status.

As a side note, the stated rationale for their endorsements was silly. Both groups said voting for their preferred candidates would guarantee continued support for the leagues from local officials. As if there is any local official anywhere who does not support youth sports leagues.

More to the point, Saladino’s Democratic opponent, Marc Herman, was a youth sports coach for 21 years.

Michael Dobie

Winning Point

The answers

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Election Day trivia quiz.

And congrats to Brendan Cunningham, whose entry was the first one in and who came closest to getting all five questions correct.

For the record, here are the questions and answers:

Q: Name one mayor running for another office.

A: Joseph McDermott, mayor of the Village of Brightwaters, is running for the Suffolk County Legislature’s 11th District.

Q: Name three State Assembly members running for other offices who, if they lose Tuesday, will return to their Albany positions.

A: Chad Lupinacci (running for Huntington Town supervisor), Thomas McKevitt (running for the Nassau County Legislature’s 13th District) and Al Graf (running for District Court judge, 5th District).

Q: There is a 67-year gap between Long Island’s youngest candidate and its oldest one. Can you name them? (Hint: They’re both from Nassau.)

A: Lee Seeman, 89, is running for re-election as a North Hempstead Town Board member. Alexander Melton, 22, is running for the Nassau County Legislature 12th District. (Bonus: Both are Democrats. Make of that what you will.)

Q: If you’re hoping this election will cure what ails local government, you’re in luck. At least five candidates are doctors. Can you name them? (No nurses, and we’re not including Democrat Robert Pena, a Hofstra University medical student running for the Nassau Legislature’s 14th District.)

A: Marc Herman (dentist, running for Oyster Bay Town supervisor), Dean Hart (optometrist, Oyster Bay Town clerk), Michael Castellano (surgeon, Oyster Bay Town board), Karen Blitz (neurologist, Nassau County Legislature 7th District), William Spencer (pediatric ear, nose and throat surgeon, Suffolk County Legislature 18th District).

Q: Name three Nassau County candidates whose first name is the name of an Otto Preminger film.

A: Laura Curran (running for Nassau County executive), Laura Gillen (Hempstead Town supervisor) and Laura Schaefer (Nassau County Legislature 14th District).

Bonus: “Laura” is one of the great American film noirs and was named by the American Film Institute as one of the 10 best mystery films of all time. And the murderer was . . . ? Drum roll, please. The newspaper columnist.

Michael Dobie

Columns