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May 30, 2017 3:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Democrats Seek To Muster City Voters To Shift Their Polling Places East

Some part-time South Fork residents feel they can make more of an impact by voting in smaller local elections than in New York City.
Jun 1, 2017 5:27 PM

Alice Yaker and her husband, Jerry Goldfeder, have been political activists their whole lives. Lawyers who live in Manhattan, the pair have worked on local, state and national campaigns for the Democratic Party for decades. Mr. Goldfeder specializes in campaign finance and election law.

After years of visiting the Hamptons in summertime, the couple purchased a house in Hampton Bays in 2006 and started spending more and more time on the South Fork. When Ms. Yaker signed on to work on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, she decided to lend her time to the efforts here instead of in the strongly Democratic Manhattan neighborhood she’d always voted in.

She said that unlike on the Upper West Side, a bastion of New York’s intellectual liberalism, she found that, in Hampton Bays in particular, her political beliefs were not echoed by many of the people she encountered on the campaign trail—and so she saw her efforts as carrying more weight here.

She also came to the realization that the same could be said for her own vote.

“As I became more engaged out here, I realized that … living on the Upper West Side, my Democratic vote and progressive politics are like many people’s there,” Ms. Yaker said. “But there is a limited number of voices out here that convey the type of liberal values and global world view that I have. There was little question, when I thought about it, that my vote would have greater value out here.”

That fall, she switched her voter registration from the city to her Hampton Bays address—and now, she said, she is urging other friends with similar mindsets and second homes on the South Fork to do so as well.

Ms. Yaker is not alone in the realization that Democratic voters from New York City who spend time on the East End may see their political voice carry further here than in the echo chamber of perennially blue urban districts.

At an elegant home in the posh Georgica section of East Hampton on the weekend before Memorial Day, several of Suffolk County’s top Democrats hosted a modest crowd of part-time Hamptons residents for a luncheon aimed specifically at convincing them to switch their voter registration from their city apartments to their summer homes on the East End.

The Suffolk County Democratic Party chairman, Richard Schaeffer, attended, as did David Calone, a Brookhaven businessman who last year lost a primary for the party’s nomination to challenge U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin’s 1st Congressional District seat and is considering another run in 2018.

The East End presents a somewhat unique circumstance for leaders of both parties in terms of voter registration, with large numbers of second-home owners who are mostly registered to vote in heavily populated, heavily Democratic districts around the city but could register at their other address if they can be convinced their vote is more impactful here.

The Democrats have seized on the issue more heartily thus far, it would seem. The leadership of both Southampton and East Hampton towns’ Democratic parties have built their rolls in recent decades, largely on the back of transplanted city Democrats. As a result, earlier this year, Southampton Town Democrats finally passed Republicans in number of registered voters for the first time ever, and East Hampton Town Democrats have broadened their registration advantage over the GOP to a nearly 2-to-1 ratio.

“It’s a pretty well-known thing in the community that the reason we have a Democratic majority [in East Hampton] is that Democrats have been assiduous in registering Democrats from the city locally,” East Hampton Town Democratic Party Co-Chairwoman Jeanne Frankl said. “We hold voter registration drives all year. If someone tells us they vote in the city but have a house here, we’ll ask, ‘Have you considered voting out here?’ and tell them that a person who owns, or even rents, a home here can register wherever they like. ‘And, you know, there are only 17,000 registered voters in East Hampton, so your vote counts a great deal.’”

Ms. Frankl and the Southampton Town Democratic Party chairman, Gordon Herr, both said, however, that they think most of the gains their parties have made from city transplants are from those who have moved more or less permanently to the area, not primarily part-timers who simply switched their registration.

The idea of New York City residents voting where they have their vacation homes has been a hotly debated one for decades. Urban political leaders began urging their constituents with vacation homes in rural areas to switch their registrations in the 1970s in hopes of swinging rural counties and even states more to the left.

There has been substantial push-back against the practice at times, mostly by school districts that see voters who don’t send kids to their schools as potential “no” voters come budget time.

But state laws mostly allow voters to register more or less anywhere they see fit, as long as they have an address to receive mail and an “intent to return” to a given residence.

“The only cardinal sin is that you can’t be registered in two places,” said Suffolk County Board of Elections Commissioner Nick LaLota. “If you have two addresses, two residences, you can be registered at either of them.”

While town races would certainly be the most affected by growing Democratic rolls in the Hamptons, the true goal of the recent effort to transplant Democrats east would seem to be the 1st Congressional District seat currently held by Republican U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin.

The recruitment event held in East Hampton last week was hosted by Loida Lewis, former CEO of TLC Beatrice International, who was approached by town Democrats at the request of the party’s county leadership.

“She told me she’s very interested in beating Lee Zeldin,” Ms. Frankl said. “She wants to persuade her friends from New York that their votes carry more weight out here in the smaller setting, and there’s this need to beat this bad congressman.”

Mr. Schaeffer, the county party chairman, did not reply to several requests for comment for this story.

The 1st Congressional District, which is one of nation’s most contested by the two major parties simply because of its tendency to swing between Republican and Democratic candidates over the last three decades, is seen as a target of particular import where leaders can say every new Democratic vote makes a difference.

Since the late 1980s, the seat has been held by Democrats for 10 terms and Republicans for six, including Mr. Zeldin’s current second term. The district is dominated by Republican-leaning Brookhaven Town voters—who make up about half of its constituents, to a little less than 10 percent from the two South Fork townships—but has a history of posting relatively tight races that hinge primarily on voter turnout. In 2010, former Congressman Tim Bishop beat his Republican challenger, Randy Altschuler, by less than 600 votes, the closest House race in the nation that year.

Nonetheless, some see the effort to recruit part-time residents as a drop in the bucket, and to do it on the South Fork as having a particularly dull edge.

“The Democrats’ tactic of registering people who do not live here to vote here is a blatant attempt to stifle the voice of the local community,” said Damon Hagen, chairman of the Southampton Town Republican Party. “It is the rich New York City liberals’ version of ballot box stuffing, and it is wrong.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Zeldin’s office, Jennifer DiSienna, said this week that efforts to recruit part-time residents by the Democrats are folly.

“For several years, Democrats have attempted to use this tactic, very heavily targeting NYC voters to switch their voter registration from NYC to Suffolk, in a desperate attempt to capture more voters,” Ms. DiSienna wrote in an email. “The residents of Long Island’s East End prefer local voters determining local races.”

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Now we check the voter rolls to see if Ms Yacker voted twice.
By 11953guest (48), southampton on May 31, 17 8:27 AM
So smug cidiots who don't really live here other than on weekends a couple of summer months have decided they know how to run our small farming and fishing town better than the locals who live here year round. They are so narcissistic that they have to impose their globalist big city views on small towns where none of that makes any sense. Pushing party politics in a small town is absurd since the DNC doesn't care about a school budget, fishing fleets, or dog poop on a beach. Real locals vote on ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on May 31, 17 8:59 AM
to localEH:


"[T]hey know how to run our SMALL FARMING AND FISHING TOWN... "[!!!] [emphasis added]

Since time warps are fictional, your opinion here is symptomatic of your overall delusional mindset, manifested both in the totality of this post and in your assessment, elsewhere, of the (lack of) severity of East Hampton airport noise pollution.

By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 31, 17 9:14 AM
Poor TinFoilHatSize is feeling defensive and bitter today. Must not have realized there are mostly farmers and fishermen who live full time out here and work hard trying to make a living. Probably thinks dirty hands are gross and work trucks are ugly and should only be seen at his service entrance used by the "invisible people". The smug is strong in this one.
By localEH (427), East Hampton on May 31, 17 12:28 PM
the people who bought the houses next to the airport where no more naive to the fact then the ones who took on adjustable rate mortgages were to those pitfalls. Please stop highhatsize your pompous city style bias to all is embarrassing
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Jun 1, 17 9:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
Just classic. People from away love the area so much that they purchase a second here, then they try to change it to the sewer they left . Most folks here work for a living and have no use for the democrat party
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 31, 17 9:59 AM
But they know whats best for us better than we do ourselves.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on May 31, 17 12:37 PM
Well if this isn't a reason to never vote democrat again, I don't know what is!

Good luck democrats, stuff your voter rolls with people that have 0 connection with the town. People from the city don't care about the town, they only care about their political beliefs and stuffing them down the throat of anyone in arms length.

And the democrats wonder why Trump is president. Couldn't be that self-destructive hubris that y'all swear you don't have.Oh well. I now know for sure Zeldin ...more
By TrueHamptons (33), Sag Harbor on May 31, 17 3:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Truehamptons, You couldn't be any truer than me.. tracing back to 1640, Halsey and Sayre as well as others. I have reasons for voting not exactly in lock step, BUT I do not believe it is in our favor for the outsider, johnny-come-lately to try to horn in on the locals and tell them what to do! This country is already in trouble with the newly elected Pres. who seems to be leading us in high water. We do not need any one who doesn't know the ropes to barge in and wreck havoc.
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Jun 1, 17 6:02 PM
A great proposition and I applaud the effort to really make an Effort in Wanting Democratic Values instilled in a more fair and balanced Election. . Please feel free to Tell your Neighbors in New York That reside in neighboring Towns Like, Quogue , Westhampton.Were being a Republican is like a Ritual and Right of Passage. Thanks for your efforts.
By 1percent (52), Quogue on May 31, 17 6:43 PM
Sure, having wealthy Manhattanazis who spend 99% of their time in another jurisdiction should us a technicality to transfer their votes to help override the will of the people who live here year round.

Like Venezuela and Cuba, the left keeps proving they think Democracy is an obstacle to overcome by any means necessary.
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on May 31, 17 8:09 PM
A Liberal is a Conservative that hasn't been mugged yet. Bigfresh said it best - people come here because it is one of the best places on earth...and then want to change it. I really don't get it.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on May 31, 17 7:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
Of course, the SHP aka "liberal rag" features a story like this to publicize/encourage left wing nuts to import their socialist values to the East end. Please stay in Manhattan and continue to ruin that city with your demonic social policies. We're quite happy here under Lee Zeldin's stewardship.
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on May 31, 17 8:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, you did it to yourself. You were the most horrible candidate and human being to ever run for the Presidency. You were full of Covfefe and the American people saw it right trought you.
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Jun 1, 17 1:35 AM
As CNN noted today, the Russians must have used a cloaking device to hide Wisconsin (and white working class voters) from her sight.
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Jun 1, 17 8:16 PM
The same people who voted for diblasio and Bloomberg and turned NYC into a progressive hell hole want to vote in the Hamptons. What could go wrong?
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 1, 17 5:36 AM
GREAT AGAIN: Private payrolls add 253,000 in May...vs. 185K est.: ADP

Companies added 253,000 new jobs in May, well above expectations of 185,000 and April's 174,000.
Big growth areas were construction and professional and business services.

Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom
23 Mins AgoCNBC.com
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Jun 1, 17 8:54 AM
Fake news remember, where were you when Obama had seventy some straight months of job growth. Besides Drumpf is just riding the waves that Obama created.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Jun 1, 17 4:46 PM
Long standing GOP tactic.

Take credit for everyone else's hard work.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 8:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
"You didn't build that" - said a one time Community Organizer.

Community Organizer=Mr.Z's idea of what makes up the productive segment of society.
Jun 1, 17 8:18 PM appended by MoronEliminator
For examples of the 'context' Mr. Z is referring to below, see his repeated references to Romney's 'Binders full of women" and Sarah Palin's 'crosshairs' election map.
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Jun 1, 17 8:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
You idiotically take that out of context.

More proof of right wing stupidity.
Jun 1, 17 8:20 PM appended by Mr. Z
You didn't build the roads, bridges, or infrastructure by yourself. Stop the [expletive deleted] stupidity already. We ALL PAID FOR THAT.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 8:20 PM
On one hand, anything to get Zealot outta congress is worth it. On the other hand, just no lol. I'm all for people vacationing here. But vacationers don't get to make decisions about how we live for the other 9 months. This has potential to really backfire once school budgets regularly get voted down. How about we just have a conversation with our neighbors and show them why voting for Zeldin is a death wish??
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jun 1, 17 12:06 PM
Brandon Quinn I agree with you we need to keep the summer resident in their place. Go to the library get the book about our first man to fight the summer horde. his name is Capt. White. He led the fight to keep our rights to ocean access. NO ONE owns down to the waterfront. They own only to the high water mark which in times of storm is in the DUNES!
By summertimegal (97), southampton on Jun 1, 17 6:11 PM
1 member liked this comment

Europe: We Won’t Re-Negotiate Paris Deal…

…Hoax Exposed: No Effort to ‘Save the Planet’…

…Without Compliant U.S., We’ll Take Our Globe and Go Home!

…Obama Bashes POTUS for Blow to Legacy…

…Celeb Meltdown: ‘Crime Against Humanity’…

…Kerry: Trump Putting ‘America Last’…

…Schumer: Trump Told Earth to ‘Drop Dead’

Michael ...more
Jun 1, 17 7:41 PM appended by loading...
click on '...more' for a surprise
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jun 1, 17 7:41 PM
Right when we need to continue to step up and lead the fight against carbon pollution, Drumpf removes us from the equation.

Pretty stupid move.

If you think the rise in CO2 levels over the last 150 years is not anthropogenic, you need to sit in the corner and put on the dunce hat.
Jun 1, 17 8:06 PM appended by Mr. Z
The great negotiator takes his ball and bat and goes home. You can't make this **** up!
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 8:06 PM
P.S. Nicaragua is leaps and bounds ahead of us when it comes to renewables.

Just let that sink in...
Jun 1, 17 8:19 PM appended by Mr. Z
Giant Crack in Antarctica's Larsen Ice Shelf Grows 11 Miles in 6 Days
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 8:19 PM
Wait a moment, you mean withdrawing from that treaty will make renewable energy projects illegal? Please explain. What about the withdrawal will stop renewable energy development?
By ChrisDiPetta (37), on Jun 1, 17 8:23 PM
Where do you come up with these stupid questions?

Where do these dumb ideas you read into what others have to say come from?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 8:30 PM
You brought up renewables. I'm asking what, specifically, about the withdrawal from this accord will hinder development of renewables.

Please refrain from ad hominem attacks, if you can.
Jun 1, 17 8:38 PM appended by ChrisDiPetta
Mr. Z, I'm being completely civil with you. You brought up renewables as a relevant element to this discussion and climate change in general. Is there no specific impact to renewables as a result of this withdrawal you can point to?
By ChrisDiPetta (37), on Jun 1, 17 8:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Another crybaby playing the victim "ad hominem" card. You sound like a "lefty". Seems like you enjoyed playing hardball with ol' Phil in other threads (bootlicker). Are you a dish it out can't take it type?

Your point is as irrelevant as your interrogative. Of course it won't be illegal. Your post was more "Billy Madison" than most I've read this week.

This decision is utterly devoid of intellectual aptitude and bona fide reckless. It also defied the advice of the world's ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 8:52 PM
Civil works.

The Paris Accord is non binding, and it's not a treaty of any sort. It's more like peer pressure and has the potential to engender competition in renewables amongst countries in agreement with said accord.

Anthropogenic climate change is real. Ice cores are real. The fact that CO2 levels have not exceeded 300 ppm in the last 800 thousand years is scientific fact (we're at 400 ppm). Atmospheric methane increase in ppb is directly corollary to the CO2 increase on ...more
Jun 2, 17 9:22 PM appended by Mr. Z
"Paris climate agreement: World leaders slam Trump decision"
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 1, 17 9:22 PM
Well, there you have it. Non-binding. Non-enforceable. Nothing really lost, unless there were some hidden teeth to be revealed later. I'd much prefer a binding international agreement that's actually brought before the people's representatives in the Senate, as the Constitution intended. Enforcement mechanisms are an absolute must when dealing with China. They're still building new coal fired electric plants at a rate of one every few weeks.

CO2 reduction has a economic cost, and I simply ...more
By NateNewtown (99), east on Jun 1, 17 9:45 PM
Svante August Arrhenius predicted the planet warming over a century ago. As a founder of physical chemistry, his papers would tend to have some merit.

As I said, it's about peer pressure. And, it's about doing what's right. It's about coming together as a world for at least one good reason despite our squabbling and war. If you don't trust China that's fine, but the pot calling the kettle black feasibly applies here. Though we have made great strides in reduction of greenhouse gases, ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 2, 17 4:31 AM
A group of students at Louisiana State University is now demanding that the school eliminate its 122-year-old tiger mascot, because the animal represents “white privilege” and “racism.” OMFG LOLLOLOLOLO
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Jun 1, 17 10:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
Despite the high level of detail in this article, and mentioning Bishops win by a margin of 600, they forget to note the results of the last elections (because it pains them to acknowledge the historic win by Zeldin. Largest winning margin int he district's history, largest number of votes of ANY candidate in district history....and yet they will seek to delegitimize Rep. Zeldin.

From another publication:

"ongressman Lee Zeldin stormed to victory in his first bid for re-election, ...more
Jun 1, 17 11:56 PM appended by NateNewtown
Yikes, too many typos. Sorry about that. I'm sure the point was well understood.
By NateNewtown (99), east on Jun 1, 17 11:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
to localEH:


"Poor TinFoilHatSize is feeling defensive and bitter today. Must not have realized there are mostly farmers and fishermen who live full time out here ... "

- - - under the flight paths of squadrons of Sikorsky S-76, 12 passenger helicopters.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 3, 17 9:33 AM
Then move... The airport was there first
By Ditch Bum (929), Water Mill on Jun 3, 17 1:01 PM
Igor Siskorsky? He was a...a RUSSIAN !!
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jun 3, 17 4:43 PM
1 member liked this comment