The counting of nearly half a million absentee and affidavit ballots continued Tuesday at the Board of Elections warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, one of the five buildings, where the fate of several races could be decided based on the updated results.
A large warehouse on Second Avenue was filled with scores of election workers separating the absentee ballots and affidavit ballots, in an attempt to determine whether those voters had cast their ballots in person or not. Stacks of ballots lined two walls of the caged in areas where workers sorted the ballots into election districts, possibly determining the outcome in several close races.
The results of the paper ballots will not affect the presidential election, as a vast majority of New York State residents voted for former Vice President Joe Biden, the declared winner of the contest. However, several local races hang by a thread.
The most prominent race between Democratic incumbent Max Rose versus Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is less likely to be effected by the paper ballots as Malliotakis is ahead by a healthy 37,158 votes in the 11th Congressional District. The district spans Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and all of a mainly conservative Staten Island.
The BOE reported receiving 48,259 absentee ballots from that district, some 57 percent of which came back from registered Democrats. Rose needs at least 77 percent of the ballots to change the election outcome. Malliotakis declared victory on election night based on the solid performance, though Rose has said he would await the outcome of the paper ballot count before conceding.
In the Brooklyn 22nd State Senate race that includes the southern tier of the borough from Bay Ridge to Marine Park, Democratic incumbent Andrew Gounardes is behind Republican challenger, Vito Bruno, a former nightclub owner, by 6.035 votes. However, political observers give Gounardes a solid shot to recover as there are 8,971 outstanding ballots over Republicans in that race. Gounardes took hits over his support for criminal justice reforms and his rival attacked him on rising crime and the release of criminals from Rikers Island.
The 46th Assembly District in Coney Island, which is registered solidly democratic, currently has Republican QAnon supporter Mark Szuszkiewicz ahead of Democratic legislator Mathylde Frontus by 2,822 votes in the in-person votes. There are 7,081 absentee votes, of which 4,525 are registered Democrats and 1,035 Republican.
In Queens, several races there also hang in the balance including the fate of Congressman Tom Suozzi and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein both of whom entered the week trailing against Republican challengers. Suozzi currently trails Republican George Santos by 4,171 votes in the race to represent the Third Congressional District.
Democratic incumbent Edward Braunstein trails in the current count in his Assembly race against Republican challenger John-Alexander Sakelos. Sakelos received 19,599 votes, while Braunstein has received 17,808, giving the Republican a 1,791-vote lead in Assembly District 26, which covers much of the eastern portion of Queens.
State law rules say the BOE must complete the count by Nov. 28. A Board of Elections official on site said he expects the count to completed well before that date.