Brooklyn Boro

New York set for historic final day in 2020 election

November 2, 2020 Marina Villeneuve Associated Press
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The most polarizing election in a generation wraps Tuesday, and even in a solidly blue state like New York, candidates for Congress and the state Legislature in a handful of battleground districts will be fighting for every last vote.

With emotions running high, security precautions were being implemented in New York City and elsewhere ahead of possible civil unrest.

At the ballot box, Democrat Joe Biden is widely expected to defeat President Donald Trump in the race for New York’s Electoral College votes. But there are tough fights underway on Long Island and in central New York in congressional districts nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

A record 3.5 million votes statewide had already been cast as of Monday. That included more than 2.5 million votes cast in early voting and at least another 1 million absentee ballots turned in as of Friday, according to the state Board of Elections. Any ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted.

The winners in some blowout contests could become available right away, but with so many votes cast by mail, close races could take weeks to decide. New York counties aren’t allowed to start counting absentee ballots until Nov. 6 at the earliest. Many typically wait a week.

The weakened state of the Republican Party in the New York City metropolitan area is setting up Democrats for some expected easy victories, including a pair of candidates who could make history as the first two openly gay Black people elected to Congress.

But outside political committees have poured at least $72 million into other, more competitive House races in the state, roughly double the amount those types of groups spent on similar races in 2018.

Democrats could also gain a veto-proof majority in the state legislature by winning just two more seats in the 63-seat Senate. A victory like that could give lawmakers more leverage with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, now a dominant force in state politics.

The election is also an important one for the Working Families Party, a minor party that has a track record of supporting progressives challenging Democratic incumbents in party primaries. Under new state rules, it could lose its automatic place on the ballot if not enough people vote under its ballot line.

Some big-name Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, have been urging voters to vote for Biden on the Working Families line in order to help the party meet the threshold.

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