The counting of more than in District 14 could start Monday morning, according to commissioners at the Nassau County Board of Elections.
"We're doing it methodically," said William Biamonte, the Democratic commissioner. He said the judge has agreed for the counting to begin pending some procedural things get done today.
The race between Democratic challenger and Republican incumbent ended too close to call on Election night, prompting this counting of absentee votes and a recount of all non-scanned ballots.
The 14th district covers parts of North Massapequa, East Massapequa, Seaford, North Wantagh, Levittown, Old Bethpage, Bethpage, Plainedge, Farmingdale and South Farmingdale.
Biamonte said four tables will be set up in a designated "Canvas Room" at the Board of Elections on Monday -- two for the District 14 and two for District 18, another race that has come down to absentee ballots.
"The representatives of the two parties and two campaigns are allowed to have attorneys or any other representative at the table examining the ballots," Biamonte said. The Board of Elections checks if the application for the ballot and the voter's signature on the registration card match, and then the campaign representatives are allowed to make objections or let it go through.
Biamonte said the counting could take a "couple of days," and they are hoping to have the race called by Thanksgiving. Even then though, the results could go to court.
Since Election Day, the Board of Elections called back all the voting machines and suitcases and inventoried absentee and affidavit ballots by legislative district. There were 522 absentee ballots and 32 affidavit ballots, the hand signed ballots, for District 14 and absentee ballots could be accepted until Nov. 15 as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 7.
After Election Day, Republicans took an 11-8 majority in the legislature and had slim leads in the inconclusive 14th and 18th district races.
Political analyst Larry Levy, who is Executive Dean for the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said recounts in close elections are not uncommon but there is more at stake than usual in the Pearson/Belesi race.
"The outcome can determine who controls how several billion dollars will be spent, how several hundred million will be cut and how the legislative map will be drawn that can have more of an impact on who controls things for the next 10 years," Levy said. "These are exciting times for legislative politics in Nassau and it could have a real impact on politics for years and years to come."