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Every vote counts: No clear winner in Dem primary for Coney’s Assembly seat as polling places fail to report results

Down but not out: Ethan Lustig-Elgrably — who has the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic Party establishment — refused to concede on election night last week after vote counting stalled with him trailing Mathylde Frontus by less than one percent of the tally.
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It’s far from a done deal.

The race for the Democratic nomination for Coney Island’s Assembly seat is the only one in the state without a clear winner — or even complete results — after the Sept. 13 primary, and locals will likely have to wait until the end of the month to find out who nabbed the nomination.

As of press time, Mathylde Frontus is holding a less-than-one-percent lead over Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, with 3,060 votes to his 2,990, according to the State Board of Elections. Of the results that have been reported, the number of blank ballots was 20 times the current 70-vote margin currently separating the two candidates.

But four of the 84 precincts in the 46th Assembly District — all of which had their polling places at PS 90-The Edna Cohen School — had not yet reported any results as of press time, and fifteen other precincts had reported only 75 percent or 50 percent of their total results.

The City Board of Elections typically certifies and sends its full results to the state board within 15 days after the election, according to a spokesman from the state board, who added that the local boards typically use that time to complete their canvass of results by recanvassing all machines and then counting all absentee, affidavit, or emergency ballots, along with carrying out a post-election audit.

Around 11 pm on election night, county-backed Lustig-Elgrably — who has the endorsement of Borough President Adams, his former boss Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), and other local party leaders — said in a statement that the election wouldn’t be settled that evening, and that he was sure he would be the winner once all of the votes were counted.

“It is clear that this election is too close to call tonight with so many absentee and affidavit ballots left to be counted,” Lustig-Elgrably said. “The most important thing now is to make sure that every vote is counted. I am proud of the work of my campaign and am confident that we will be victorious after all of the votes are tallied.”

But the morning after the primary, Frontus — who is endorsed by the good-government group Citizens Union, as well as political clubs including the Brooklyn Young Democrats and the 504 Democratic Club — wrote on Twitter that the stalled vote counting was odd, adding that she was proud of her team’s commitment to the community.

“Here we are on Friday morning and the results for #AD46 are still, oddly, stuck,” Frontus tweeted. “We inquire, and we wait. What I know for sure is that #TeamFrontus is an extraordinary collection of individuals who believe in service to our community!”

On Sept. 15, two days after the primary, Frontus hosted a rally in front of her campaign office demanding finalized results of the election. And later that same day, Lustig-Elgrably issued a statement also calling on the board to issue the full results.

Frontus is an adjunct professor at the Columbia University and New York University schools of social work and the founder of the Urban Neighborhood Services organization and the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative.

Lustig-Elgrably formerly worked as Treyger’s chief of staff and legislative director, and recently resigned from his job at the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to campaign full-time.

The candidates sought to convince voters that they were each the better pick to fill the seat vacated by disgraced Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, who resigned in April after the Feds charged her with stealing money from storm-recovery agencies. Both promised to tackle the area’s many issues, including improving affordable housing and public transportation, bringing more classrooms to the area, and fighting illegal home conversions.

Whoever gets the Democratic nomination will go on to face Republican candidate Steve Saperstein in the November 6 general election.

The district includes Coney Island and Sea Gate as well as parts of Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, and Dyker Heights.

The city and state boards of election did not respond up to repeated follow-up inquiries by press time.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Posted 12:00 am, September 18, 2018
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