Election Day has arrived.
There are no reported outages at polling places in Riverhead Town.
Voters displaced by Super Storm Sandy may cast their ballots at any polling station in New York, thanks to an executive order signed late yesterday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Voters registered in any federally declared disaster county may vote by affidavit ballot at any polling place in the state.
“Just because you are displaced doesn’t mean you should be disenfranchised,” the governor said at a briefing Monday afternoon.
The displaced voter’s “vote will count for the office of president and United States senator and it will also count for any other candidate for office and district as well as any ballot initiative that appears on the official ballot in the voter’s home district,” Cuomo’s executive order states.
The governor directed county boards of elections to forward all affidavit ballots to the voters’ home counties as soon as possible so that their votes may be counted in the correct election district.
Polls are open from 6 a.m until 9 p.m. in New York. If you are unsure of your polling place, you can look it up here. If you have a problem voting, call the Suffolk County board of elections at 631-852-4500.
America will choose its next president today and New Yorkers will select a U.S. senator, in the first race between two women for a U.S. Senate seat in state history.
Incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand faces Republican challenger Wendy Long. Both women are attorneys. Gillibrand, 45, a two-term congresswoman from Brunswick, was appointed by Gov. David Paterson to the senate seat held by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, when Clinton resigned to become U.S. secretary of state. She was elected to fill out Clinton’s term in a special election in Nov. 2010.
Long, 52, a litigation attorney from Manhattan, is an advocate for judicial restraint and a founder of an organization dedicated to the principle of judicial restraint (strict constructionists of the U.S. Constitution). She has been legal advisor to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaing since 2007.
Among the other races on today’s ballot:
Riverhead Receiver of Taxes
In a special election today, Riverhead voters will choose between Republican Laurie Zaneski and Democrat Robert Gottschalk.
Zaneski, 46, of Aquebogue, is the former deputy tax receiver, a post she held for eight years prior to her appointment by the Town Board in September to the tax receiver post. The position was vacant following the retirement of incumbent Maryann Wowak Heilbrunn in June.
Gottschalk, 59, of Wading River, served one year as Riverhead Town assessor in 1998, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board of assessors. He lost in a special election that November to Paul Leszczynski. Gottschalk ran and lost a second time for the assessor’s post in 2007.
Both tax receiver candidates are running on minor party lines in this election because both local party committees missed filing deadlines required for the candidates’ names to appear on the ballot lines of the major parties.
Zaneski’s name will appear on the Riverhead Taxpayers First line and Gottschalk’s name will be on the Riverhead Taxpayers United line.
U.S. House of Representatives
Incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop, 62, of Southampton is challenged by Republican Randy Altschuler, 41, of St. James, who came within 593 votes of unseating Bishop in 2010.
Bishop seeks his sixth term representing New York’s First Congressional District. Born and raised on Long Island, he was elected to Congress in 2002, in his first-ever run for elective office. Prior to his election he was provost at Southampton College, where he had worked for nearly 30 years.
Altschuler, 41, was born and raised in New York City. He attended NYC public schools and the earned a B.A. in German studies and literature at Princeton University. After graduation, he studied abroad in Vienna, Austria as a Fulbright Scholar and then went on to receive an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School.
After working as an investment banker in NYC, Altschuler and a college roommate founded Office Tiger, a business process outsourcing company, in 1999. They sold it to RR Donnelley in March 2006 for $250 million. Altschuler moved to St. James in 2007. He is currently executive chairman of CloudBlue, a Georgia-based electronics waste management company he cofounded in 2001 that has locations in 14 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and London.
Bishop supports the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality. He advocates repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and opposes the Republican budget authored by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, arguing that the plan would, among other things, repeal Medicare as we know it and replace it with a voucher system. Bishop also supports comprehensive immigration reform.
Altschuler says he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, arguing that allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines and tort reform would control health care costs. He supports the Republican plan to reform Medicare and Social Security, which he says will become insolvent if left as is. He also supports: reforming tenure practices that he says rewards bad teachers; increasing spending on intelligence and counter-terrorism budgets; increasing the number of border and customs patrol agents; and banning drivers licenses, welfare payments and in-state college tuition breaks for illegal immigrants.
Democrat Bridget Fleming, 52, a first-term Southampton Town Councilwoman, is challenging 35-year incumbent Republican Ken LaValle, 73, in the First Senate District race.
Fleming was first elected to the Southampton Town Board in a special election in March 2010. She won election to a full four-year term that November. She previously served as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, serving as head of the unit that prosecuted fraud in public assistance programs. She charges LaValle with being ineffective in bringing the district its fair share of school aid and with being so entrenched in Albany politics that he’s out of touch with residents of the district. She lives in Noyac.
LaValle, a Port Jefferson resident, was elected state senator in 1976. A former high school teacher, he is chairman of the state senate’s committee on higher education, a post he’s held since 1979. One of the two longest-tenured members of the state senate, he is chairman of its majority conference. LaValle is a proponent of the 2 percent property tax levy cap and takes great pride in his efforts to protect the environment of the East End and preserve farmland. LaValle earned a law degree from Touro College in 1987 and is of counsel to the Riverhead firm Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo.
First-term incumbent Republican Dan Losquadro faces Mattituck Democrat Nicholas Deegan.
Losquadro, 40, of Shoreham narrowly defeated incumbent Democrat Marc Alessi in 2010. A lifelong Suffolk County resident, he grew up in Wading River and attended Shoreham-Wading River public schools. Losquadro, an insurance agent, was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in 2003.
Deegan, 63, of Mattituck, has been a Mattituck parks commissioner since 2007. An Irish immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1973, Deegan is a carpenter. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for Southold Town Board in 2011.