Absentee ballots could decide Maloney-Nadler showdown

The epic Democratic primary fight between veteran New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler could be determined by absentee ballots as many of their constituents are away vacationing for the summer, political pundits say.

“There’s no district in the city where voters are more likely to be gone [for] the August primary,” said Democrat consultant Chris Coffey, CEO of Tusk Strategies. “Absentee ballots can very well decide the race.”

The deadline for voters to request an absentee ballot is Monday and they must return it by Aug. 23.

The Democrats’ gerrymandering debacle wound up pitting Maloney and Nadler — longtime allies who’ve served in the House of Representatives together since 1993 — against each other in the Aug. 23 primary.

It’s the first time New York will hold a primary in August, which is expected to significantly reduce voter turnout, especially in many of the deep-pocketed Manhattan neighborhoods both pols are targeting — making absentee ballots all more important.

In April, state judges knocked out the Democrat-drawn maps — which Republicans derided as the “Hochulmander” because Gov. Kathy Hochul approved them — finding them unconstitutional.

As a result, a court-ordered special master merged Maloney’s East Side turf with Nadler’s West Side base, setting up a summertime battle royal in the new 12th Congressional District.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler and attorney Suraj Patel debate during New York’s 12th Congressional District Democratic primary debate at the CUNY Graduate Center on Aug. 2, 2022.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool

Democratic consultant Jon Paul Lupo said in-person turnout “could near record lows” and that “it’s even worse for Nalder and Maloney who are relying on so many voters who flee to the Hamptons in August.”

“A good absentee ballot operation is life or death,” he added.

Evan Theis, another Democratic consultant, also believes absentee ballots could decide the winner  – as well as the highly contested 10th Congressional District race covering lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

“Each campaign is going to be obsessed with getting their voters’ absentee ballots in and counted,” he said.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler have served in Congress since 1993.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool

Prior to COVID pandemic outbreak in 2020, absentee voting played a minor role in most New York elections, but rules were loosened up to boost participation.

A third candidate, lawyer Suraj Patel, who twice previously ran unsuccessfully against Maloney, is also competing in the 12th District race.

He told The Post his camp is making a strong push to attract voters planning to cast absentee ballots – as well as those participating in early voting.  

“People under 64 tend to vote in person,” Patel said. “I think we’ll still get the bulk of our votes from the early vote period.”