Republican voters in East Hampton Town hit the polls early last week to cast votes in a write-in primary held to determine who will carry the GOP banner for town supervisor on Election Day—but the results are still not expected to be known anytime soon, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
The best estimate that a spokesperson for Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Wayne Rogers’s office could provide on Tuesday, one week after the September 10 opportunity-to-ballot primary, was September 30. That is the deadline by which the county Board of Elections must have the general election ballot certified by the state board of elections, the spokesperson, who declined to provide her name, said.
The machines were audited on Monday and some counting countywide started on Tuesday, but not East Hampton’s votes, she said.
“Right now our focus is getting everything counted for the primary and that’s not just East Hampton,” she said. “We are doing this for the county.”
Unofficial county Board of Elections results posted online last week said that only 67 voters penciled in votes in East Hampton’s primary, a figure that does not include absentee ballots.
“We don’t really put a date on it,” she said last week. “It’s done when it’s done.”
The winner is expected to challenge Larry Cantwell, a Democrat who also holds endorsements from the Independence and Working Families parties, but who declined to accept a Republican nod.
The GOP has lacked a candidate since former Town Supervisor and current County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, an Independence Party candidate, turned down the nomination earlier this year and instead chose to seek reelection as a legislator.
The party missed a traditional petition deadline to the county this summer to get a name on the ballot for supervisor, and, in an 11th-hour attempt to field a candidate, instead filed a petition to hold the write-in primary.
Current Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, a Republican, has opted not to run again, and GOP leadership has been unable to provide names of other potential candidates.
The Board of Elections spokeswoman said she could not answer specific questions this week regarding various “what-if” scenarios involving the outcome, such as what would happen if Mr. Cantwell were to win anyway or what would happen in the event of a tie or an “invalid” winner.
“I’m deferring to the State Board of Elections. These are situations that we have not had to deal with,” she said. “At this point in time, we don’t have a winner. We haven’t had an official declination on a winning candidate. We have to address those situations as they come up.”
A call placed to the press relations office at the state board was not immediately returned on Tuesday.
Tom Knobel, the vice chairman for the town’s Republican Committee, said this week that he believed that if Mr. Cantwell received the majority of votes despite his preemptive announcement that he would decline it, he would not automatically get the nod.
“If Larry got the majority, my belief is that he would have to file an acceptance because he’s not a registered Republican,” he said.
Mr. Knobel said that in the event of an invalid candidacy—such as if the winner turns out to be dead or a fictitious person—what typically happens is that the party would select someone to fill the slot. Ties, he said, typically go to no one. “There’s no candidacy,” he said.
He deferred to the commissioner’s office at the county board for clarification.