Nassau Republican Legis. Ed Mangano leads incumbent Democratic County Executive Tom Suozzi by 377 votes at the end of a historic recount for Nassau’s top-elected position, according to the final, unofficial tally figures from the county Board of Elections.
The closing numbers: Mangano, 122,471; Suozzi, 122,094.
Now the battle goes to the courts, where New York State Supreme Court Justice Edward McCarty will decide about 500 ballots that had been challenged during the process. Board of Elections officials would then certify a winner.
At the end of counting on Nov. 30, a handful of attorneys, elections workers and volunteers sat at a table in the back of Board of Elections headquarters in Mineola, assessing just how many ballots would be sent to the judge as Mangano walked about, overseeing the process.
Crates upon crates of paper ballots already tallied were piled atop tables that stretched the length of the room. Hours earlier, the place was crammed, abuzz with noise and activity, as dozens of people from both teams reviewed documents and continued the long process of counting and verifying more than 8,000 affidavit and absentee paper ballots to determine who would emerge victorious.
That had been the scene since Election Night, when the heated race had been determined too close to call—first, a massive recount and verification of more than 245,000 votes cast through voting machines, then, the beginning of the lengthy tally now over.
It has been a bumpy ride for both candidates. Suozzi, a two-term county executive and one-time gubernatorial candidate, had initially led Mangano at the end of Election Night by 237 votes. Following a subsequent re-canvassing of voting machines, Mangano took the lead by 497 and expanded that to 554 votes Nov. 16. At the end of counting on Nov. 21 that lead was cut to 353, and narrowed to 122 votes two days later.
Suozzi told reporters and TV crews during the count’s final afternoon that he was “not inclined to support” a call by some of his constituents to challenge the election and potentially hold an entirely new one due to vote discrepancies.
Peter A. Bee, Republican attorney for Mangano, expressed confidence that his client would ultimately emerge victorious following the next stage of the process, explaining that about half the contested ballots represented Republican challenges, with voters’ registration on the outstanding ballots also about split.
“We remain optimistic that Mr. Mangano will be certified as the winner in the very near future,” he says.
Mangano echoed that sentiment, telling the Press he is “very optimistic” that the numbers will remain in his favor. He adds there may be further statements made in coming days.