Despite reports in Newsday over the weekend that there was a tally mix-up in the Town of Hempstead elections and incumbent Republican Linda Reed was actually trailing Democrat Rita Kestenbaum by 300 votes, the board of elections said they knew of no such mix-up and their numbers were the same at our press time as they were the morning after the elections with Reed leading by 318 votes.
Final tabulations for the Town of Hempstead council seat, and all elections will not be available until at least next week. The numbers that the Nassau County Board of Elections are listing as the unofficial results have Reed with 56,454 votes and Kestenbaum with 56,136 votes.
When asked if there was any change in these numbers, a representative from the board of elections noted that they will not have any new numbers until they recanvass, starting this week. Recanvassing means that they will be opening up all the machines, looking at the numbers, adding them up again, looking at the affidavits that were brought in election night and counting any absentee ballots that were received by Election Day, to ensure the validity of the results. Any stray marks on an affidavit renders that vote invalid. It is during this recanvassing that any key pad errors, or adding mistakes may be found. The machines have been impounded and will be opened next week.
Tony Santino, a spokesman for the Nassau Republican Party noted that he does not know where Newsday got their figures from. Of the recanvassing process, Santino stated, "They have the numbers that come in on election night and then they go back and begin to check and sometimes there could be mistakes on some of the reporting sheets and that changes the numbers around." He added that they will have to wait until the board of elections has recanvassed all the machines before they have a final count.
The Town of Hempstead elections took a shocking turn on Election Night when at least two Democrats, Dorothy Goosby and N. Scott Banks won seats on the board, replacing Robert Barra and Gary Hudes who were appointed to Town Board in late July. No Democrat has held a position on the Town of Hempstead Board since 1907.
Reed, who was appointed to the town board in January 1998 and was re-elected last November was running for her first four-year full term on the board.
It was announced on Election Night that Kestenbaum, Goosby and Banks, had won the only three seats that were up for election. Early the next morning when the board of elections came out with their unofficial results, they had declared Reed the unofficial winner of the election, the only Republican to hold onto her board seat.
Now, with such a close election and over 1,500 absentee ballots and affidavits to be counted, both Kestenbaum and Reed must wait until all the machines have been recanvassed to find out which of them will be sworn in on Jan. 1.
Reed stated, According to the board of elections, they are still going over all the election results and I'm just waiting for the outcome." Kestenbaum could not be reached for comment.
Reed concluded, "I thank all the people who supported me and I enjoy working with the residents of the Town of Hempstead and we're just going to wait it out and see what the results next week bring."