In less than two weeks, Shelter Island voters will join others in District 1 in choosing a new Suffolk County legislator to replace Ed Romaine, who was elected in November as Brookhaven Town Supervisor.
Democratic Southold Town Councilman Albert Krupski Jr. faces off against Riverhead’s Republican Supervisor Sean Walter in the special January 15 election.
Despite efforts by Mr. Walter and Republican State Senator Ken LaValle to postpone the election until February to give voters more time to learn about the candidates, county legislators set the date for the special election this month, forcing both candidates to campaign through the holiday period.
Shelter Island residents, who are to be moved into District 2, currently represented by Jay Schneiderman, as of January 2014, will continue to be represented by the winner of the District 1 election this month.
But time is closing fast on the window to register to vote in the special election or vote via absentee ballot.
If you’re not registered to vote, you can still register for the special election, but that would have to be done by visiting the Suffolk Country Board of Elections in person by January 4.
Registered voters who aren’t planning to be on Shelter Island on January 15 may still seek an absentee ballot from the Suffolk County Board of Elections at 700 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank, through next Tuesday, January 8.
Applications are available online at www.suffolkvotes.com/absenteevoting.asp.
The completed application can be mailed to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, PO Box 700, Yaphank, N.Y. 11980 or hand-delivered to the Board of Elections by January 8. The application will be processed immediately and the voter will received a letter of validation and an absentee ballot by mail.
Mr. Walter is a Wading River resident and a former town attorney first elected supervisor in 2009. Mr. Krupski, whose family owns and operates a Peconic pumpkin farm, served as a Town Trustee for 20 years and has been on the Southold Town Board for eight years.
Mr. Walter has stressed economic and tax issues in his campaign, saying businesses have returned to Riverhead’s Main Street during his tenure. He argues that’s he’s best prepared to follow Mr. Romaine’s example in providing a strong voice for the North Fork in a county government dominated by western Suffolk interests.
As one of only two elected Democrats in Southold government, Mr. Krupski said he’s proven his ability to cross party lines to work on issues such as land preservation, transportation and containing the size and cost of government. He said he would give the agricultural community its first representative in county government.
The two will appear in the campaign’s only face-to-face debate, sponsored by the Times/Review Newsgroup, at Martha Clara Vineyards on Sound Avenue in Riverhead on Monday, January 7, at 7 p.m.