Possible Blue Wave of Absentee Votes Threaten GOP’s Election Day Lead


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include recent returned mail-in ballots to the city’s Board of Elections.

here has to be a lot of political nail-biting going on in Southern Brooklyn as the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) will begin to tally absentee ballot votes this week.

Under current election laws, absentee ballots must have an election day postmark of Nov. 3 and be returned to the BOE by tomorrow Nov. 10.

Nationally, the absentee ballots have skewed Democratic and in the recent Democratic primary, they have skewed far left handing the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and left-of-left progressives impressive wins. But it remains to be seen how this will play out in the general election where Southern Brooklyn includes purple areas where voters are more likely than most of the borough to mark their ballots for people, policies and ideas, over party and ideology.

The first of two races to watch here are the 22nd Senatorial District covering Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Marine Park.

Vito Bruno
Senate candidate Vito Bruno
State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

Thus far in this race, according to the BOE website, Republican challenger Vito Bruno holds a fairly commanding 6,035 vote election day lead over Democratic incumbent State Sen. Andrew Gournardes. This translates to roughly 54% of the vote for Bruno and to 46% for Gounardes.

There were some election day vote scanners that weren’t working correctly, and sources say Gounardes did pick up roughly 800 votes from these, which if accurate still gives Bruno a 5,235 vote lead.

According to the BOE figures, as of this morning, Nov. 10 thus far there have been 21, 661 mail-in ballots returned. Utilizing statistical models, a small percentage of these will be thrown out as some voters also either did early voting or election day voting not so much as voter fraud, but as insurance that their vote would count and having a somewhat mistrust on the mail-in ballot process.

Of these returned ballots, 13,303 are from registered Democrats, 3,117 are from registered Republicans and 4,602 had no party affiliation. So it is a possibility that Gounardes will overtake Bruno after the absentee ballots are counted.

That said, much depends on several scenarios. Firstly, from which part of the district will the absentee ballots be from. Democrats from Bay Ridge, for example, will likely have cast their absentee ballots for Gounardas. Those from all the other parts of the district where Bruno carried, although Democratic, may hold true to the election day percentages and come in for Bruno.

Also hard to tell is which way the no party affiliation mail-in ballots will swing. One interesting thing to note is in secondary parties, the Conservative Party, which tends to be the right-wing of the GOP, returned 113 absentee ballots while the Working Families Party, which tends to be the left-wing of the Dems turned in 34.

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus
Mark Szuszkiewicz

The other race worth watching is the 46th Assembly District covering Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. In this race, Republican challenger Mark Szuszkiewicz has a 2,822 vote election day lead over Democratic incumbent Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus.

Szuszkiewicz, who reportedly has ties to extreme right views and has had some legal problems, garnered 54.23% of the election day vote to Frontus’ 45.66%, according to the BOE unofficial election day returns.

According to the BOE as of this morning, Nov. 10, there have been 9,190 returned mail-in ballots, and of these 7,624 were from registered Democrats and 268 were from Registered Republicans. Those that chose no party affiliation included 1,083 mail-in ballots.

While the BOE will start their mail-in ballot counts, which will go all week, they have not posted the schedule yet on when they will do the counts on these two Southern Brooklyn districts.