An Understated Statement at the OB Election 2022

Tiffany and trustee-elect Marco Arment with their son.

By Shoshanna McCollum

It was a quiet day at the Ocean Beach election polls, with only 222 votes cast in person on Friday, June 3, and an additional 19 ballots mailed in. Unlike past years the Community House was not jammed with poll watchers and spectators looking on – even the OBA candidate’s forum held on Saturday, May 28 was atypically civil. Yet in spite of all of this, the night ended as something of a nail biter with every vote counting to determine who the new incoming village trustee would be.

Yes, it was a mayoral election, but Mayor Jimmy Mallott ran unopposed. Still, he took in the most votes that night securing 187 in total, and will now enter his fourth four-year term. Village Justice William Wexler also ran unopposed and took in 168 votes.

It was the three-way race for two available village trustee positions that had everyone’s attention. Incumbent Trustee Dawn Hargraves retained her seat effortlessly, commanding 177 votes. However, the race was close for contenders Marco Arment and Byron Chenault. Both candidates were popular, and predictions were too close to call.

On voting machine tally only, Chenault came in at 94 votes against Arment’s 108 – a difference of only 14 votes – but 19 absentee ballots sat unopened. One of those absentee ballots was rejected due to technical flaws, making the margin of error even closer still.

The process of the poll workers opening the paper envelopes and counting each ballot was a slow and laborious one. They had been there all day and were visibly tired. Ultimately however, Arment picked up another eight votes through the process, while Chenault only six – for a final count of 116 and 100 votes total.

Quiet as the vote was, there were a few telling markers. With 238 cast and counted, the numbers indicate that a significant number of voters either bulleted their vote, or just left certain portion of their ballot blank, meaning even the unopposed candidates really did not get a clean sweep.

The few people that did hang around the closed polling place slowly made their way to relay their congratulations to Arment and wife Tiffany, who were in the back of the meeting house with their young son.

However, Arment abruptly excused himself and made his way out the door to shake Chenault’s hand before returning to accept any accolades. The two have much in common after all, both are young men raising their families on Fire Island, and they ran for local office out of love for their home and a genuine desire to make a difference.

Also in this election, the Ocean Beach Fire Department, NY LOSAP referendum prevailed at a margin of 185 to 25 votes.