By Donovan Alexis and Rachael Eyler
While Democratic voters have struggled to regain control in the Senate, Long Island Democrats are now tripling their voter turnout in the 2018 election season, according to state Board of Election figures, despite efforts to tamper with the Democratic campaign.
In 2014 only 10 percent of eligible Democrats casted their ballot, according to official records, but they have shown a record breaking increase during the September primaries, with Suffolk County climbing from six percent in 2014 to 20 percent this year, Nassau County turnout increasing from seven percent to 20 percent and statewide turnout went from 11 percent to 27 percent.
“People are just realizing that they cannot take the right to vote for granted and that if they really want to see a change in government, you have to elect leaders that you believe in,” Ali Dakich, press secretary for Democratic candidate for Congress Perry Gershon said. “From celebrities to local activists, to kids in college to religious groups, everybody is realizing the importance of being able to raise your voice at the ballot box, regardless of who you are voting for.”
Local Democratic support for Gershon has increased in recent months, against the seemingly overwhelming amount Zelden voters when they face off against in the polls Nov. 6.
The race for November elections has included shady tactics. Local Gershon supporters have reported their yard signs going missing, and they’re pointing the finger to their Republican counterparts.
“It was up for a full week while my husband and I were off work,” Krystina Moore, a Riverhead resident said. She explained that in the following week when she and her husband went back to work, upon coming home from work the first day, she noticed the sign was gone.
“I’m reaching out to everyone I can and encouraging them to get out and vote. Every sign they take will be replaced by another,” Moore said.
A volunteer from the Gershon campaign also reported multiple instances where sign placement had been tampered with. Over the weekend, they said they had begun placing large signs after obtaining town permits and gaining property owner permission.
“One was placed yesterday in Manorville on County Road 111. When I passed the location this morning, the sign was gone,” Jeanne Greco, an Eastport resident said.
Another sign was placed on that same road, and yet again, it had been moved. Greco said that it had been up for barely a day.
“It was just curious that the Zeldin signs remained and there were no car fragments that would have resulted from an accident,” Greco explained. “I am so disgusted by the behavior of Zeldin’s supporters.”
Yet despite the mysterious efforts to take down the signs, Greco says the campaign is more determined than ever.
“We have been working tirelessly and respectfully,” she said. “It is a running theme in the campaign to always go high.”
Long Island included a number of swing districts for both Congress and the State Senate and the previous turnout has sparked hope of a “blue wave” among Democrats come November.