SYOSSET, NY — Syosset voters were lining up Tuesday morning to fill out their ballots for Congress and New York State Legislature. Polls in New York opened at 6 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m. on Election Day, which comes after about 100 million votes were cast nationwide before Tuesday as the nation holds a referendum on President Donald Trump and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Syosset voters will cast their ballots for Congress, as well as for New York State Senate and Assembly, both of which are currently controlled by Democrats. Incumbents who will defend their seats on Syosset ballots this year include Trump, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, Assemblymen Michael Montesano and Charles Lavine, and state Sen. Jim Gaughran.
New York's 3rd Congressional District
Suozzi, an attorney and certified public accountant, is a political veteran to say the least. The Democrat was first elected to represent the district in 2017, but served as Nassau County executive from 2002 to 2009 and as Glen Cove mayor for seven years before that beginning in 1994.
Suozzi is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the chamber's chief tax-writing committee. He also serves on both the Oversight and Tax Policy subcommittees.
Some of his key votes as a congressman include voting in favor of impeaching Trump, against funding a border wall and limiting illegal immigration, against making it a crime for someone to perform an abortion at 20 weeks, and against Republican legislation to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
He was ranked 28th most conservative compared to House Democrats by GovTrack.
Republican challenger George A. D. Santos, of Queens, is a financial professional who wants to take on "a radical regime," according to TheIslandNow.com.
"He has poorly managed his budget," Santos told the news outlet about Suozzi. "I'm the antidote to all the wasteful spending. I don't see why a congressman from Long Island should have to hop on a first-class airplane flight when you could take the train to Washington."
Santos was born in Jackson Heights to Brazilian immigrant parents and studied economics and finance at Baruch College. He has done stints at CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs and most recently led a business development team at LinkBridge Investors.
From 2013 to 2018, he ran a non-profit animal rescue organization called Friends of Pets United.
Santos' campaign platform includes tax cuts for the middle class, supporting charter schools and vocational education, immigration enforcement, tough anti-gang measures, mental health screenings for students, embracing nuclear power as a renewable energy source and protecting the right to bear arms.
"America is under attack," he said in a statement announcing his campaign. "This time the attack is within. It's coming from radical leftists who are trying to destroy our most basic traditions and the very foundations of our Constitutional Republic."
Bob Cohen and Howard Rabin are also on the ballot this year, running on the Working Families Party and Libertarian lines, respectively.
The 3rd congressional district includes parts of eastern Queens, as well as all or parts of Great Neck, Port Washington, Glen Cove, Oyster Bay, Plainview, Hicksville, Bethpage, Old Westbury, Huntington, Northport, Kings Park, Commack and Melville.
New York Senate District 5
In state Senate District 5, incumbent Democratic state Sen. Jim Gaughran faces Republican challenger Edmund Smyth. Green Party candidate Barbara Wagner is running on a third party platform.
Gaughran, a Dix Hills native who now lives in Northport, was elected to the Huntington Town Board in 1983, becoming the youngest councilman in the town's history. Four years later, he was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature to represent the 17th Legislative District. He served as chair of the Public Safety Committee and in 2018 was elected to the state Senate, where he has served as chair and member of the Suffolk County Water Authority.
Gaughran was raised in Dix Hills and graduated from Half Hollow Hills High School. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Hofstra Law School and a Bachelor's degree from SUNY Stony Brook.
Smyth, a lifelong Huntington resident, is a Town of Huntington councilman. The son of two immigrants, he received an undergraduate degree in History and went on to receive a law degree from New York Law School. He practices law on Main Street in Huntington Village.
Smyth has served on the Lloyd Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals and as president of the Huntington Lawyers Club. He previously served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
The district covers the North Shore of Long Island, including Glen Cove, Syosset, Jericho, Oyster Bay, Plainview, Huntington, Northport, Melville and Dix Hills.
New York Assembly District 13
In Assembly District 13, Democrat Charles Lavine seeks re-election against Republican challenger Andrew Monteleone.
Lavine, of Glen Cove, first took office in the state Assembly in 2005. He serves as chair of the Committee on Election Law and is a member of the Committees on Codes, Ethics and Guidance, Rules, Insurance and Judiciary. Lavine previously served as chair of the Committee on Ethics and Guidance, co-Chair of the state Legislative Ethics Commission and as chair of the task force established to produce an Assembly Speaker's Policy on Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination.
An attorney, Lavine is also president of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Jewish Legislators.
Monteleone, of Syosset, earned a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University, a master's degree from Long Island University's Post campus and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He has worked in criminal defense and personal injury law as a partner at a Mineola firm and has served as a board member of the Criminal Courts Bar Association of Nassau County, according to Newsday.
The district includes all or parts of Glen Cove, Lattingtown, Sea Cliff, Roslyn, Syosset, Jericho, Hicksville, Westbury, Plainview, Woodbury, Oyster Bay and Centre Island.
New York Assembly District 15
In the race for District 15, incumbent Republican Assemblyman Michael Montesano seeks re-election against Democratic challenger Joe Sackman III.
Montesano, of Glen Head, was elected to the state Assembly in 2010. He was a police officer and detective for the NYPD for a decade and also served as an EMT supervisor and investigator for the NYC Emergency Medical Service, according to his biography on the state's website. He is a former president of the Nassau County Criminal Courts Bar Association and former President of the Nassau County Magistrates Association. He has also served as president, vice president and trustee of the North Shore School District Board of Education.
Montesano is a member of several committees: Ways and Means, Codes, Ethics and Guidance, Judiciary and Oversight, Analysis and Investigation.
Sackman's career experience includes working as a research coordinator in veterinary medicine. He previously served as a volunteer activist for five years at the left-leaning super political action committee Wolf-PAC, which aims to amend the U.S. Constitution to mitigate corruption stemming from money in politics. He served as a rank-and-file member, organizer, state director, national coordinator and advisory council member at the organization.
The district includes parts of Hicksville, Bethpage, Farmingdale, Syosset, Muttontown, Brookville, Oyster Bay, East Norwich, Locust Valley and Bayville.
In what's shaping up to be one of the most anticipated presidential elections in recent memory, incumbent Republican President Donald Trump will try to fend off a tough foe in former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden has held a healthy lead in the polls in recent weeks — FiveThirtyEight's website shows Biden has an average of advantage of 10.5 points as of Wednesday, up from 8.2 on Oct. 1. The site notes that polling averages are adjusted based on state and national polls. Candidates' averages can change even if no new polls are added to the calculation.
Historic Early Voting
Nassau County voters turned out early in droves, following a pattern seen nationwide. More than 144,000 absentee ballots were requested by Republicans and Democrats in Nassau, a spokeswoman for the county Board of Elections told Patch on Friday afternoon. About 99,000 of those were requested by registered Democrats and about 45,000 were by registered Republicans
About 93,000 absentee ballots were returned: about 65,000 from registered Democrats and 28,000 from registered Republicans, the Board of Elections said.
Furthermore, about 171,000 people in Nassau voted early, including about 82,000 registered Demcorats and 48,800 registered Republicans.
While there was no early voting in 2016, the spokeswoman said, the number of absentee ballots requested and returned in 2020 has been "tremendously larger." In 2016, about 48,000 absentee ballots were cast in all in Nassau County.
How To Vote
There are several ways residents can vote this year: mailing in their ballot, voting early and voting on election day.
Vote-by-mail applications must be received by the Nassau County clerk by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Subscribe The ballot itself must either be personally delivered to the board of elections no later than the close of polls on Election Day, or postmarked by a governmental postal service not later than the day of the election and received no later than the 7th day after the election.
Voting On Election Day
Polls in New York are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day.
You can find your assigned polling place by visiting the New York State Board of Elections website. For questions about voting in Garden City, contact the Nassau County Board of Elections at 516-571-VOTE (8683).