Snow forecast creates early-vote crunch in race to replace Santos

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The possibility of an Election Day snowstorm in next week’s tight race to replace expelled former Rep. George Santos in Congress is putting pressure on the candidates to turn out their supporters before the end of early voting on Sunday.

Any disruption to voting Tuesday could benefit former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi over Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip, thanks to Democrats’ advantage in early voting so far, according to data released by election officials in the district, and the GOP’s reliance on heavy Election Day in-person turnout.

The weather forecast is highly uncertain, and snow is not yet assured. A strong storm is expected to affect the New York area late Monday into Tuesday — but forecasters aren’t sure yet whether the district, which spans from Queens into Western Long Island, will receive significant snow, or whether the precipitation will mostly be rain or a slushy mix of the two.

Long Island is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Long Island Sound to the north, and the warmer water temperatures in winter sometimes mean the snow that accumulates north and west of New York City falls as rain closer to the coast. Precipitation is expected to begin as rain late Monday and likely change to snow Tuesday — but how quickly that occurs, if at all, will determine how serious the storm’s impacts will be.

Suozzi’s campaign isn’t taking any chances. In posts Saturday morning
on Facebook

and X
, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the Democratic nominee encouraged supporters to “keep your eyes on Tuesday’s weather forecast and get out and vote early this weekend!”

Pilip’s camp expressed less concern about the possibility of snow.

“We are confident that regardless of the forecasted weather, our people will flock to the polls and send Mazi to Washington, D.C.,” said campaign spokesperson Brian Devine.

The election to replace Santos, who was kicked out of the House late last year, is an important one for the next 11 months of a closely divided chamber, with Republican Speaker Mike Johnson struggling to corral a slim and unruly majority. It is also seen as a key bellwether for other suburban races in November.

The mail and in-person ballots cast so far haven’t been tallied yet, but voter registration data suggests a Democratic advantage. According to
the Democratic firm TargetSmart
, Democrats have about an 11-percentage-point lead in registration among voters who’ve turned out for early voting, compared to their 8-point lead in early voting in the 2022 midterm elections.

But a fast Democratic start isn’t unusual in elections these days, especially since former President Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. Democratic voters tend to embrace early and absentee voting more than Republicans, who are more likely to show up on Election Day and vote in person.

The early voting period is nine days long, beginning last Saturday and concluding Sunday. Early-vote centers are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Nassau County, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. within the city limits.

Polls will be open on Tuesday throughout the district from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Emily Ngo contributed to this report from New York.

This post was originally published on Politico

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