The Suffolk County Board of Elections certified the results of the Nov. 3 general election on Monday, Dec. 7, and Republicans, who had a wide lead on Election Night, maintained the edge after more than 168,000 absentee ballots were counted.

But, echoing election results throughout the country, absentee voters here were far more likely to favor Democratic candidates.

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin, who represents the East End’s First Congressional District, held on for a fourth term with 54.86 percent of the vote, while his Democratic opponent Nancy Goroff won 45.14 percent.

On Election Night, Mr. Zeldin had 61.31 percent of the votes cast in person, while Ms. Goroff had 38.66 percent of the vote. Mr. Zeldin since picked up 29,398 absentee votes, while Ms. Goroff picked up 58,106 absentee votes.

“Despite our loss, I am so proud of the work we’ve done together, and I am confident that our work will have a long lasting impact on Suffolk,” said Ms. Goroff when it became clear to her campaign Friday, Dec. 4 that they would not be able to overcome Mr. Zeldin’s lead. “Our mission on this campaign has always been rooted in science. We fought for leadership and policy guided by facts and science, and that fight will always be worth it.”

Mr. Zeldin had declared victory on Election Night.

Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden made up some ground in absentee ballots, but still fell just short of incumbent President Donald Trump in the final tally — by 232 votes.

Mr. Trump took 49.40 percent of the Suffolk vote, while Mr. Biden took 49.37 percent. On Election Night, Mr. Trump had 55.63 percent and Mr. Biden had just 43 percent here.

Mr. Trump picked up just 49,274 votes after absentee ballots were counted, while Mr. Biden picked up 124,396 votes.

In the First Senate District race to replace longtime Republican State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, who is retiring after 42 years, Republican North Fork State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo edged out Crime Victims Center Executive Director Laura Ahearn, a Democrat.

Mr. Palumbo took 51.37 percent of the vote, while Ms. Ahearn took 48.63 percent.  On Election night, Mr. Palumbo had taken 57.2 percent of the in-person vote to Ms. Ahearn’s 42.78 percent. 

Mr. Palumbo picked up 13,274 votes after absentee ballots were counted, while Ms. Ahearn picked up 27,346 votes.

“As our new Senator, I will work hard every day to continue the legacy of retiring Senator Ken LaValle and build upon his strong record of protecting the environment, supporting our schools and fighting for taxpayers,” said Mr. Palumbo, who declared victory last Wednesday as the final votes were tallied.

“I congratulate Senator-Elect Palumbo on his victory and I pledge to work with him for the betterment of our communities during these difficult times,” said Ms. Ahearn last Thursday. “For now, I look forward to spending the holiday season with my family, who have been through so much during this remarkable time to run for public office.”

In the North Fork’s Second State Assembly race for Mr. Palumbo’s current seat in the State Legislature, Republican Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio had a wide lead on Election Night, which former Democratic Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith managed to close slightly.

Ms. Giglio took home 56.23 percent of the vote after all ballots were tallied, while Ms. Jens-Smith won 42.47 percent. On Election Night, Ms. Giglio had 62.39 percent of the vote, while Ms. Jens-Smith had just 36.27 percent.

Ms. Giglio picked up 5,614 votes after absentee ballots were counted, while Ms. Jens-Smith picked up 10,207 votes.

“Assemblywoman-elect Giglio has served our community admirably for the past 11 years,” said Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar in a statement Monday afternoon, Dec. 7. “Although we will miss her presence at Town Hall, we look forward to continuing to work with her in Albany.”

Riverhead residents interested in being considered to be appointed to Ms. Giglio’s seat on the Town Board may submit a resume to the Riverhead Town Clerk’s Office ( , no later than 4:30 p.m., Dec. 21, 2020.

In the South Fork’s race for the First Assembly District, State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who has been in office since 1992 and was running on the Democratic and Independence Party lines, maintained his Election Night lead, becoming the only local state or federal Democratic candidate to take home a win in this election.

Mr. Thiele took home 58.28 percent of the vote, while Republican candidate Heather Collins took home 41.72 percent. Mr. Thiele had 53.32 percent of the vote on Election Night, while Ms. Collins had 46.66 percent. 

Mr. Thiele picked up 12,503 votes after absentee ballots were counted, while Ms. Collins picked up 4,470 votes.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence in the job I have done. I look forward to representing eastern Long Island at this critical time in our history,” said Mr. Thiele in a statement Monday. “We face a major task to protect our citizens from the continuing pandemic in the coming months and to undertake an economic recovery that returns health and prosperity to all New Yorkers. I look forward to the challenge.”      

A controversial Suffolk County ballot proposition to use funds from the Suffolk County Sewer Stabilization Fund to plug gaps in the county budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic passed with 53.61 percent of the vote, about even with its Election Night lead of 53.79 percent.

Voters cast ballots to shoot down a proposal to increase the terms of Suffolk County legislators from two to four years by about the same margin in absentee ballots as in in-person ballots. On Election Night 70.57 percent of the voters had said “no,” and after absentee ballots were counted and the election was certified, 70.08 percent of voters had said “no.”

The full certified election results can be viewed online here.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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