The race between Joseph Belesi and Eva Pearson for the District 14 seat of the Nassau Legislature continues into December, with a judge ruling Tuesday for officials to narrow down the ballot challenges.
As of Friday, the election commissioners narrowed down the challenged ballots that the judge must rule on from 114 to 40, and Belesi was ahead by 108 votes. All results are unofficial until representatives appear next before the judge on Dec. 5.
After more than 500 absentee ballots , incumbent Republican Belesi was ahead by 85 votes for the seat. There were 114 ballots challenged during the counting that the judge had to rule on before a winner can be named.
According to Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner William Biamonte, representatives from both parties appeared before New York State Supreme Court Judge Vito DeStefano on Tuesday.
"He directed the council to the two commissioners to try to narrow down the number of the objections that have to come before him," Biamonte said.
That process started Wednesday. The audit of the machines also started Wednesday, a process that needs to be finished before the election is certified, Biamonte added.
Since Election Day, when the race between and ended too close to call, 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 this district. Absentee ballots were accepted until Nov. 15 as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 7.
The outcome of this race may determine which party controls the legislature for the next term. After Election Day, Republicans took an 11-8 majority, with slim leads in the inconclusive 14th and 18th district races.
If Democrats win the two contested seats, they could regain control of the legislature, but if Republicans win these races, their majority will stay 11-8.
The 14th district covers parts of North Massapequa, East Massapequa, Seaford, North Wantagh, Levittown, Old Bethpage, Bethpage, Plainedge, Farmingdale and South Farmingdale.