Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Early absentee ballots are in -- and staggering
- Cuomo almost all in on a Democratic Senate
- Playing Hispanic party politics
Absentee ballots give early clue about election
The big mystery in the craziest national election in U.S. history is turnout. With so much disapproval of both presidential candidates and so much shock and awe from Republican Donald Trump, who will actually get off the couch and vote?
An analysis of requests for absentee-by-mail ballots in the swing state of North Carolina may be providing a bit of early intel. What insightus, a North Carolina data-gathering nonprofit advocacy organization, found is simply staggering.
State elections data gathered through Monday indicate that the common practice of voting early by absentee ballot is down by 21 percent compared with 2012. That’s notable, the organization states, because in North Carolina, most of these voters are Republican. Democrats who choose to vote early more often do so in person, which they can begin doing on Oct. 20.
A further dig into the data provides even scarier numbers for the GOP. Ballots returned by registered Democrats are up 6 percent over 2012. Those returned by independents are up 7 percent. And ballots returned by registered Republicans are down a staggering 45 percent over this time in 2012.
Nearly every national poll of likely voters and registered voters is predicated at least partially on past voting patterns. That goes for assessments of who will win the presidency, but also who will win House and Senate seats and who will hold majorities in those chambers. If the voting patterns are dramatically different this time around, the results are likely to be as well.
Cuomo puts muscle behind Dems
In a stark reversal from previous election cycles, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will headline a major fundraiser for State Senate Democrats, who are seeking to win a majority in November. He also will appear at fundraisers for two incumbent senators, including on Long Island, who are facing strong challenges.
Cuomo will headline an Oct. 25 reception in Manhattan with Senate Democratic Conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Sen. Michael Gianaris, chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. Tickets are $1,000 each, or $25,000 for a private reception including the governor. The goal is to raise at least $1 million.
On Oct. 17, Cuomo will attend a reception for Sen. Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach, who won a close special election in April but faces Republican Chris McGrath in a rematch.
On Oct. 30, the governor will help Sen. George Latimer of the 37th Senate District, whose challenger is Rye Councilwoman Julie Killian.
Fellow Democrats criticized Cuomo for essentially sitting out Senate races in 2012 and 2014. He may be shoring up his base for his expected re-election run two years from now, but he is also covering his bets. The governor is noticeably not appearing on behalf of any specific challenger to an incumbent Republican senator.
Making a mess
Powerful, complex new voting bloc grows on LI
As the Hispanic population on Long Island grows, it is becoming a consequential voting bloc. A report released Wednesday by Make the Road Action, an immigration advocacy group, maps outs that growing power in detail.
In State Senate districts, the percentage of Hispanic voters ranges from 4 percent to 15 percent, with the biggest representation in the 3rd District.
On Wednesday, the editorial board met with Republican incumbent Thomas Croci and Democratic challenger John DeVito. According to the report, 15 percent of registered voters in the 3rd District are Hispanic.
Croci and DeVito agreed that the growing population of Latino immigrants from several countries represents challenges for the district, yet enriches it. There is a perception that Hispanic voters favor Democrats as a bloc, and DeVito sought to play into that by painting Croci as hard on immigrants here illegally and on “sanctuary city” provisions.
In truth, the Hispanic mix in that district is complex and varied. Many of the residents who have been here the longest and can vote came from Puerto Rico. They hold diverse views on newcomers from places like El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, as well as on the treatment of immigrants here illegally, and which political parties they prefer.