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Absentee ballots from local election remain uncounted


The election is over and the winners have been declared — right?

Well, not quite.

There were 276 Shelter Island voters who applied for absentee ballots Republican Party Chairman Bob DeStefano Jr. said, while his Democratic counterpart, Heather Reylek said the number is 273.

Of those, 211 ballots had been received by the Suffolk County Board of Elections by last Friday, both parties agreed. By law, the absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day, but because some could be mailed from distant locations — even from out of the country — they don’t have to arrive at the Board of Elections until Tuesday, November 14.

On Shelter Island, the closest race was between Town Board candidates Albert Dickson, a Democrat, and Marcus Kaasik, a Republican. Mr. Kaasik appeared the winner with 31.3 percent of the votes to Mr. Dickson’s 29 percent. But the vote tally was 597 for Mr. Kaasik to 553 for Mr. Dickson. That could be overturned by absentee ballots.

Even the supervisor’s race could be overturned, with Gary Gerth having 576 votes to incumbent Jim Dougherty’s 475 on election night. The spread between those two gave Mr. Gerth 54.6 percent of the votes to Mr. Dougherty’s 45 percent.

Most of outstanding ballots are from people in New York and New Jersey, not foreign countries, Mr. DeStefano said. Given that fact, he doubted there were would be many more ballots to be received than those postmarked on time.

How quickly they might be counted is up to the Board of Elections. With a tight race for Suffolk Country sheriff between Errol Toulon Jr. and Lawrence Zacarese, that could delay the count of absentee ballots on municipal races, Mr. DeStefano said.

But sometimes. Ms. Reylek said, the Board of Elections opts to count smaller jurisdictions first, such as Shelter Island, to get them out of the way.

On election night, Mr. Toulon had 49.41 percent of the votes to Mr. Zacarese’s 48.93 percent. That vote tally was 141,006 for Mr. Toulon to 139,652 for Mr. Zacarese.

Mr. DeStefano said it was technically possible for Mr. Dougherty to prevail as he did back in 2011 when he looked like a loser to Glenn Waddington on election night, but pulled out a victory after absentee ballots and recounts were completed.

Ms. Reylek, who said on election night that it would be difficult for Mr. Dougherty to win on absentee ballots, said Monday that “until you count all the votes, you never know.