Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
Voters poured into Suffolk County polling places early on Election Day and continued to do so until polls closed. The turnout wasn’t great in terms of pure numbers, but it was pretty great on a comparative basis.
In the district attorney race, which for a change had more than one candidate, with Tim Sini beating Ray Perini, turnout was about 32 percent, a number that will rise as the board of elections receives more absentee ballots in the coming days.
In 2013, when only now-indicted Thomas Spota was on the ballot for district attorney (and absent a constitutional convention proposition to really inflame some voters), turnout was an anemic 21 percent. The increase from four years ago is a whopping 52 percent.
A similar increase spiked the sheriff’s race, which is still too close to call after the machine count. Democrat Errol Toulon Jr. leads Republican Lawrence Zacarese by 1,354 votes out of 285,366 cast. A recanvass of a sample of voting machines remains, and then comes the counting of absentee ballots.
Suffolk elections officials say there are 13,850 absentee ballots in house, with more likely arriving in the coming days. Now add in unknown numbers of affidavit ballots and election lawyers, and consider this bit of perspective:
There already are more paper ballots to count than there were in the 2010 1st District congressional race between Tim Bishop and Randy Altschuler, and that wasn’t decided until Altschuler conceded on Dec. 8 of that year.
This is going to take a while.
There might have been one more winner Tuesday — one whose name didn’t appear on any ballot.
The Nassau Hub.
Could victories by Laura Curran and Laura Gillen bring a new vision for the development of the 77 acres of asphalt surrounding Nassau Coliseum? Could their wins mean the creation of a livable, walkable center of Nassau County that includes housing, jobs and entertainment?
Previous GOP supervisors in Hempstead gave lip service to make the most of the site, but then pretty much stood in the way.
Eight years ago, then-town Supervisor Kate Murray and board member Anthony Santino rejected the proposed Lighthouse development. When the town approved a zoning plan, it severely limited density and housing development.
In the past eight years, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano tentatively tried a variety of ideas, but never exhibited the needed leadership to do more — besides opening a renovated arena unfit to host major-league sports.
Will Curran as the next Nassau County executive, and Gillen as the next Hempstead Town supervisor, be able to propel development at the Hub? Will the Hempstead Town Board, now with four members who weren’t there in the Lighthouse days, be willing to rethink the zoning?
Let’s be clear: This won’t mean a permanent return of the New York Islanders to the Coliseum. Not even a newly elected executive or supervisor can make that kind of magic.
Randi F. Marshall
The LIRR vote
The Long Island Rail Road’s Tuesday evening rush-hour troubles — service was suspended on the Oyster Bay, Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branches after two incidents involving vehicles on the tracks — left many would-be voters frustrated. Some tweeted their annoyance to the editorial board.
@lirrssshhh wrote, “Half of Long Island has not voted because they are still stuck on the Long Island Rail Road . . . If they didn’t vote early this am, that’s a lot of missing votes.”
Long after the polls closed, reader Richard Lando of Bethpage emailed the board: “The (non-LIRR) voters have spoken.”
One of the incidents involved a car stuck on the tracks at Willis Avenue in Mineola. Let’s see: Who was the former mayor of Mineola? Who for years opposed the LIRR’s third-track project? Who needed a few more votes in his bid for Nassau County executive?
Was this revenge, cosmic or otherwise, on Jack Martins?