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Siller wins in a walk, other races remain tight: Absentee ballots will decide elections

Supervisor Gerry Siller handily won reelection to another two-year term Tuesday night. With unofficial results tabulated at the school gym just after the polls closed, plus early voting results, Mr. Siller, running unopposed on the Democratic line, got 693votes.

A late write-in bid mounted by former councilman Peter Reich got substantial support — 385 write-ins were counted.

Races for Town Council were tighter and neither party was ready to concede races on Election night, since 237 absentee ballots had been requested by voters. Those ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day and sent to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. When the final count is made, it could tip the balance in several of the local races.

According to the Board of Elections, 151 Shelter Island Democrats requested ballots against 43 Republicans. Four Island Conservative voters requested the ballots, along with 39 who registered no party affiliation.

Incumbent Republican Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams, who is also deputy supervisor, running for another four-year term, was the top vote-getter of the evening, taking in 765 votes from Election Day voting and early voting.

Crunching the numbers. Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams, left, and Meg Larsen at Isola on Election Night. (Credit: Julie Lane)

Also making bids for four-year terms on the Town Board are first-time candidates Democrat Brett Surerus and Republican Margaret (Meg) Larsen. Ms. Larsen showed strength with 681 votes, while Mr. Surerus’ vote total stands at 630 votes.

One for all, all for one. Democratic candidates Brett Surerus and BJ Ianfolla flank town clerk candidate Kristina Martin Madjisova at the American Legion on Election Night. (Credit: Ambrose Clancy)

The other Town Board race, to complete former councilman Mike Bebon’s remaining two years on the Town Board after his resignation last year, produced the tightest race of the election, with  former Town Assessor Barbra Jean (BJ) Ianfolla, running on the Democratic ticket getting 606 votes to Republican Marcus Kaasik’s 613. Mr. Kaasik, a bayman and carpenter, has run for a seat on the Town Board twice, coming close but not getting a win.

Republican Town Board candidate Marcus Kaasik at Isola. (Credit: Julie Lane)

The race for town clerk pitted incumbent Republican Dorothy Ogar against Democrat Kristina Martin Majdisova, a clerk for many town committees. Facing opposition for the first time in decades, Ms. Ogar got 661 votes to Ms. Majdisova’s 587.

At the Democrat’s Election Night gathering at the American Legion, party Chairwoman Heather Reylek wasn’t conceding any races, but noted that Ms. Brach-Williams looked too far ahead to overcome. Supervisor Siller agreed, noting that the absentee ballots requested from registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a wide margin.

In the kitchen of the Legion bar, Mr. Siller looked at the results, received congratulations, and said, referring to his fellow Democrats in the race, “It’s definitely not over. We have a chance to win all of them.”

At Isola, where Island Republicans waited for results, the mood was upbeat. Reading out the numbers to the party faithful, GOP Chairman Gary Blados announced, “The good news is we’re up everywhere.”

Peter Reich, partying with the Republicans, said he was proud of the number of voters who had written in his name on ballots for supervisor. It was encouraging, he added, and he didn’t rule out another run for public office.

As the evening wore on, Mr. Blados took a cautious stance, noting the fact of absentee ballot requests overwhelmingly favoring the Democrats.

This concerned some GOP members over their candidates’ chances, even for Ms. Brach-Williams being able to hold onto her lead. Mr. Blados said he was worried, that the party’s standard-bearer this year could lose her race.

All candidates and supporters were proud of Island voters, who showed again that the small town is politically engaged, with more than 1,000 Islanders casting ballots.

Latest Board of election reports:

In the election for four-year terms on the Town Board

Candidate                           Party        Votes Share

Brach-Williams, Amber F Republican 765 36.85%

Larsen, Margaret A Republican 681 32.80%

Surerus, Brett G Democratic 594 28.61%

Working Families 36 1.73%

Total 630 30.35%

Councilman (Unexpired Term), Town of Shelter Island

Candidate              Party       Votes   Share

Kaasik, Marcus A Republican 544 44. 63%

Conservative 69 5.66%

Total 613 50.29%

Ianfolla, Barbara Jean Democratic 606 49.71%