Primary day has arrived in Suffolk County. But determining the outcome of Tuesday’s vote will take much longer than normal.
Full results will not be available Tuesday night as they would during a typical election due to the surge in absentee ballots, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
Absentee ballots mailed by June 23 will be accepted until June 30, more than a week later, and ballots are not expected to be officially tabulated for a week or two after that, which leads to around mid-July, according to officials.
The BOE says results from early voting and in-person machines will be published on election night. Early voting was held from June 13 to June 21.
An absentee, mail-in vote system was used in school budget and board of education elections last week, and resulted in high voter turnout in Riverhead and Southold town districts, with more than two times the votes as last year. The Board of Elections does not run the school elections.
Many districts across Long Island didn’t finish counting ballots until the following day. There was no in-person voting on school budgets as there will be Tuesday for the primary.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order earlier this year to push the presidential primary date from April 28 to June 23. The executive order also called for sending an absentee ballot application to every registered voter, along with a postage-paid envelope. The local primary date had always been June 23.
In-person voting is still available Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., although the location may be different for voters compared to a normal election. Anyone voting in person is required to wear a mask and maintain social distance when entering the poll site.
Officials said they will have to check to ensure that those people voting in person didn’t also vote by absentee ballot. The voter enrollment books that were used in the past have been replaced by tablet computers, which enables voter results to be updated immediately, according to the BOE.
The changes are expected to lead to high voter turnouts, in addition to long vote tabulation times.
The BOE has mailed out more than 500,000 ballot applications, which has resulted in more than 100,000 absentee ballots being sent, of which they’ve already gotten 40,000 to 50,000 back, according to the BOE.
In the 2016 primary, which was the last presidential election year, the total number of votes was 97,453.
The changes were meant to keep people safe in the wake of the pandemic.
“No New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Mr. Cuomo said in explaining the executive order.
“Extending the deadline to submit absentee ballots builds on our previous Executive Orders to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote absentee in the upcoming primary election and it will help to increase voter participation as we continue to fight this virus,” he said.
While the State Board of Elections had canceled the presidential primary, a judge later reinstated it after the decision was challenged. Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee.
There are three Democratic primaries on the ballot in Riverhead and Southold town. They are:
First Congressional District
• Perry Gershon, 58, of East Hampton,
• Gregory-John Fischer,63, of Calverton,
• Nancy Goroff, 52, of Stony Brook and
• Bridget Fleming, 60, of Water Mill
First State Senator district
• Laura Ahearn, 56, of Port Jefferson,
• Valerie Cartright, 44, of Port Jefferson Station,
• Skyler Johnson, 19 of Mount Sinai,
• Thomas Schiavoni, 56, of North Haven, and
• Nora Higgins, 53 of Ridge.
• Laura Jens-Smith, 57, of Laurel,
• William Schleisner, 36 of Sound Beach.