BOE to begin counting absentee ballots crucial for southern BK races

Board of Elections workers count absentee ballots in Brooklyn during the June primaries on July 8.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

The city’s Board of Elections will tomorrow begin counting the thousands of absentee ballots cast during last Tuesday’s general election — with historically high mail-in votes potentially deciding the outcome of three down-ballot races in southern Brooklyn, where Republicans gained an early lead over Democratic incumbents with in-person votes.

Most prominently, Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is ahead of Democratic Congressman Max Rose by 37,158 votes in New York’s 11th Congressional District, which spans from Gravesend to Bay Ridge and includes all of Staten Island.

BOE has received 48,259 absentee ballots from that district, some 57 percent of which came back from registered Democrats — yet, Rose would have to win at least 77 percent of the ballots to catch up to Malliotakis.

In the 22nd state Senate district, which stretches from Bay Ridge to Marine Park, incumbent Democrat Andrew Gounardes is currently behind former nightclub owner Vito Bruno by 6,035 votes — although registered Democrats hold an 8,971 person advantage in outstanding ballots over Republicans, giving Gounardes a solid chance to catch up. 

While Rose and Gounardes flipped their districts blue during the last election cycle in 2018, the 46th Assembly District in Coney Island, which has been blue for more than 80 years, currently has Republican QAnon supporter Mark Szuszkiewicz ahead of first-term Democratic legislator Mathylde Frontus by 2,822 votes in the in-person votes.

However, 7,081 absentee votes are still in play for that district, 4,525 of which came from Democrats, versus 1,035 from Republicans.

BOE will prepare for the count at each of its five borough counting centers Monday, including its Kings County location at a Second Avenue warehouse in Sunset Park.

In Brooklyn, they will start tallying on Tuesday with the 58th Assembly District in East Flatbush and Canarsie, a district which incumbent Nick Perry won unopposed.

Officials will make their way through the ballots by assembly district, with schedules posted daily at the close of business on BOE’s website. The Board has to complete the count by Nov. 28 as per the state’s Board of Elections rules. 

It is unclear how soon the city BOE will start counting the districts that are actually competitive in Brooklyn, and spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez declined to give a timeline, referring only to the website’s daily updates. 

During the June primaries, the Board counted ballots in uncontested races first and pushed back more competitive districts to later in the process, because the latter counts were more likely to be dragged out by attorneys for campaigns objecting to the validity of ballots.