The Village of Manorhaven has determined that Trustee Khristine Shahipour was re-elected to the board after initially tying with her fellow Trustee Vincent Costa. The decision came down to a single absentee ballot.
The village held an election on June 20 which featured three candidates vying for the two trustee seats up for election.
The two seats were occupied by Trustees Costa and Shahipour who both were running for re-election. They were challenged by newcomer Jeffrey Stone.
After in-person votes were counted, Stone was a clear winner of one of the seats with 388 votes. The two incumbents tied with 207 votes each.
Before the village counted absentee ballots to resolve the tie, Shahipour conceded the race. This appeared to hand Costa the election and the village therefore halted counting the absentee ballots.
The following day, the village officials met with attorneys who determined that Shahipour was unable to concede from the race as voting had concluded before she pulled out.
Because of this, the village then began counting its absentee ballots.
The absentee ballots did break the tied. It brought up vote counts to 287 each for the incumbents and 398 for Stone.
Because of the tie, the village’s next step was to recanvass votes.
The recanvassing entailed individuals from the county Board of Elections hand counting all the votes cast to ensure no errors were made by the machines that scan and count the votes.
“We have to make sure that everything, that votes were counted correctly,” Popeleski said.
Popeleski said their deputy village clerk had drafted a letter to the Nassau County Board of Elections to conduct a recanvassing of all the votes cast in the election to resolve the tie. The mayor said he delivered the letter to the board of election’s office the afternoon of June 22.
On Tuesday, the Board of Elections conducted a recanvass of the village’s votes. After counting all of the in-person votes and the valid absentee ballots, Popeleski said the board of elections confirmed the tie the village had observed.
Their next step was to evaluate the village’s questionable absentee ballots.
Popeleski said the village received two additional absentee ballots the day after the election and kept them sealed for the board of elections to decipher the plan of action.
Although they were postmarked before the election, the mayor said the Board of Elections did not count them as they were void due to being received after the election.
The Board of Elections also did not count any absentee ballots which were not signed by the voter.
Popeleski said there were two final absentee ballots for which village officials could not decipher the name of the voter.
The Board of Elections was able to confirm the identity of one of the voters and count the individual’s vote. This single vote was for Shahipour and decided the tie between the two incumbents.
On the Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night, Popeleski congratulated the two elected trustees.
The mayor also thanked Costa for his hard work on the board.
“It won’t go unnoticed,” Popeleski said. “Thanks for your service to the community.”
Popeleski told Blank Slate Media that he is looking forward to continuing to work with Shahipour, who was initially appointed by the mayor July 2022, and working with newcomer Stone.
During the May 24 Board of Trustees meeting, Shahipour presented resolutions not on the agenda to fire the clerk, eliminate the position of complaints investigator and rescind the contract with C&G Inspection Services Inc.
These resolutions blindsided the mayor as a majority of the board passed them all.
Popeleski said that while he didn’t like the actions of Shahipour and the board in May, he is looking forward to the board going forward and working with one another.
“That’s a hurt that’s going to take time for me to bounce back from,” Popeleski said. “We have to move forward. I’m there for the people and my main concern is the village.”