If you are lucky enough to not own a television that’s been plastered with 60 minute campaign spots or a land line swamped with robocalls over the past several weeks, perhaps you don’t know that today is mid-term Election Day.
If you have been lucky enough to be hiding under a rock all this time, here’s our quick voting guide before you head out to the polls:
East End-wide, the most watched race tonight is likely to be the contest between incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop and State Senator Lee Zeldin, who is making his second attempt to unseat Mr. Bishop.
Four years ago, this race for the First Congressional District seat was the last decided in the nation, with Mr. Bishop leading by just 263 votes when his then-opponent, Randy Altschuler, conceded the race in early December. Mr. Bishop squeaked by with just 52.2 percent of the vote in a rematch against Mr. Altschuler in 2012.
Mr. Zeldin, an attorney from Shirley who ran against Mr. Bishop in 2008, is in his second term as a New York State Senator and served as an Army Paratrooper during the war in Iraq.
Mr. Bishop, the former provost of Southampton College, is running for his seventh term representing the East End in Congress.
Our coverage of a recent League of Women Voters-sponsored discussion between the two candidates is online here.
All of us East Enders are also faced with the choice of whether to re-elect 37-year veteran Republican State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, or to elect Democrat Michael L. Conroy, a former construction worker and labor representative and county Democratic Party official from Manorville, who supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s agenda for the state.
South Forkers will have their pick of whether to vote for Sag Harbor attorney and 19-year incumbent Fred W. Thiele, Jr. on the Democratic, Working Families or Independence Party line, or to pick Republican Heather C. Collins of East Quogue, who is running to stop the Common Core education standards or Conservative Brian J. De Sesa, also an attorney from Sag Harbor.
North Forkers are weighing in on whether to return Republican Anthony Palumbo, who has focused on Common Core reform and making New York an easier place to run a business, to the state assembly or to elect Suffolk County Parks Police Officer and former teacher Thomas Schiliro, who supports state reform of property taxes, as well as women’s equality issues.
Judith A. Pascale is running unopposed for County Clerk, while Suffolk County Water Authority chairman Jim Gaughran‘s name will appear on the Democratic, Working Families and Independence party lines for County Comptroller. Twelfth District Suffolk County Legislator John M. Kennedy, Jr. is on the Republican line.
Southolders are facing a special election for Town Trustee, after former trustee Bob Ghosio was elected to the town board last fall, leaving a vacancy on the town trustees, who oversee the town’s waterways.
The Southold Town Board appointed long-time Trustee David Bergen to fill Mr. Ghosio’s post earlier this year, after Mr. Begen, then an incumbent, did not receive the Republican nomination for the position last fall. Mr. Bergen, an avid sailor who has focused on navigation issues and dredging while on the board, is running for re-election against Abigail Field, an attorney and member of the Southold Town Democratic Committee.
Throughout the East End, voters will weigh in on five ballot propositions. Proposal One would revise the state’s redistricting procedures, Proposal Two would allow state bills to be distributed electronically and Proposal Three would allow the sale of $2 billion in state bonds to upgrade public school technology.
Proposal Four would eliminate the role of the Suffolk County County Treasurer, with those duties absorbed by the County Comptroller’s office.
Proposal Five, which has been heavily supported by environmentalists, would restore $30 million taken from the quarter-percent tax earmarked for Suffolk County’s Drinking Water Protection Program and authorize the county to fund $46 million in sewer infrastructure improvements.
Voters in Southampton will also be asked to weigh in on Proposal Six, which would “alienate” town parkland in order to revamp the Riverside traffic circle just south of downtown Riverhead. Suffolk County is offering to give Southampton a larger adjacent piece of parkland along the Peconic River in exchange for use of the town’s parkland to change the shape of the traffic circle.
When you’re done voting, go out and sauté yourself some scallops. You deserve it.