Lafazan holds onto his seat after absentee count

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s a legislator in the Nassau County Legislature when he was 23, making him the youngest-ever to hold the position, has unofficially won his bid for a third term. After the absentee ballots were counted on Monday, Lafazan, an Independent, who lost on Election Night, won by 220 votes against political newcomer, Republican Paolo Pironi, 33, of Brookville.

Democratic Board of Election Commissioner James Schuereman said the races will be certified this week but he doesn’t expect any changes.

“We are feeling really good,” an exuberant Lafazan said. “It was a crazy 13 days. I’m grateful to have this job. I love my job.”

Lafazan, of Woodbury, who caucuses with the Democrats at the Legislature, represents District 18, which includes Oyster Bay, Bayville and Locust Valley.

Democrat Arnold Drucker, 64, of Plainview, who also lost initially, won as well. Elected to the Legislature in a special election in 2016, he represents part of the North Shore, including Plainview, Old Bethpage, Jericho, Syosset, Woodbury, Hicksville, Old Westbury, and Roslyn Heights. Drucker won by 406 votes.

The outcome of the Lafazan and Drucker race was important, because if one lost, Republicans would have a supermajority, giving them 13 or more votes. That would enable Republicans to override a veto by the county executive. With the wins by Drucker and Lafazan, the Republicans have an 11-8 majority in the Legislature.

Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, a Democrat from Glen Cove who won handedly, said she knew early on that there was a problem.

“On Election Day morning I knew there was some kind of pushback,” she said. “Basically, Republicans came out to vote early and the Democrats stayed home. By noon it was like 23 percent Democrats voting and over 50 percent Republicans. We just never caught up.”

But the Democrats cast 13,022 absentee ballots, Schuereman said, with only 6,655 sent in by Republicans. The remining 2,978 were cast by voters not affiliated with a party, conservatives, Green Party and Libertarian Party members.

The absentee ballot count indicated that County Executive Laura Curran, 53, a Democrat, lost to Bruce Blakeman, 66, a member of the Hempstead Town Council. The unofficial count, Schuereman said, is 142,626 for Blakeman and 140,476 for Curran.

Schuereman said it is the most absentee ballots the Nassau County BOE has ever received in an off-year election.

“It’s important to count every vote,” he said, “and we take our time in Nassau to make sure it’s right.”

Two high-speed scanners were purchased in 2020 at $100,000 a piece for the BOE, which can process 100 ballots a minute. BOE workers open the ballots and a process that once took weeks to count manually is now  performed in a matter of days by the scanners.

Lafazan will continue to pursue his agenda, with his top priority being to keep young people on Long Island, which he said is personal. For years he has seen his younger classmates and colleagues leave Nassau for the boroughs of New York City, or for southern states. The reasons, he said, is that they are seeking affordable housing, effective public transportation and good jobs.

He fought for building 500 units of next-generation housing for young renters at the Nassau HUB, and will look for more options, and is committed to continuing to work for effective public transportation, he said, which is a push for a discounted monthly Long Island Rail Road ticket for young commuters.

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