Special Report: Ocean Beach Vote in Dispute

“Normally on an election night we have a lot of work to do,” village attorney Ken Gray said on Friday night as he addressed the audience of poll watchers, candidates, and media while the election inspectors looked on and sat idle.

In a stunning turn of events, the June 1, 2018 election results were anything but certain after the polls closed on June 1, 2018. Village trustee candidate Dawn Hargraves presented an Order to Show Cause, signed by a judge roughly an hour before election polls closed. The court order sequestered absentee ballets, poll book, registers and other related items to the custody of Suffolk County Board of Election. This action prevented election inspectors from counting the ballots, or the village clerk from certifying the results. Final Decision is pending on a hearing in Yaphank, New York set for Thursday, June 7 at 3 p.m.

The only information that was available were the votes cast on site in the electronic tabulators at the Community House between 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. on the June 1 election day. As per that count James Mallott won his mayor seat unopposed by 226 votes, plus six write-in ballots; incumbent trustee Brian Power captured 191 votes; challengers trustee candidate Hargraves got 183 votes; and Tara Schoen Fishman trailed at 116 votes respectively. Sixty-eight absentee ballots are presently in question, but Schoen Fishman is only 67 votes behind.

Ken Gray did not announce any head count totals of how many voted on premises throughout the day, or if any of those votes are presently challenged. We will continue to monitor this developing situation.

UPDATE: Dawn Hargraves withdrew her motion on June Monday, June 4, 2018. Absentee ballots were counted and election results certified and Village Clerk Steven Brautigam on Thursday afternoon, June 7. Final results count Mayor Mallott at 252 total votes, Trustee Power at 214 votes, and Trustee-Elect Hargraves at 193 votes. While Tara Schoen Fishman did not win  this race, she closed her margin substantially totaling 171 votes in the end – only 22 votes behind her nearest opponent.