Forecast worsens on eve of New York special election

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Mazi Melesa Pilip, Republican candidate for New York's 3rd Congressional District, departs a polling station after voting early in Massapequa, New York, on Feb. 9, 2024. | Pool photo by Adam Gray

A significant snowstorm is colliding with the high-stakes special election for Congress in New York on Tuesday, potentially making voting difficult in the race to replace expelled former Rep. George Santos.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued a Winter Storm Warning for New York City and Long Island, predicting between four and 10 inches of snow that could snarl traffic and depress Election Day turnout. Already, schools in the city have announced they will be closed, and many school districts in Nassau County are likely to follow their lead.

Forecasters have struggled to nail down the details of the storm in recent days. Prior to Monday, the heaviest snow was expected across central New England; now, that area has shifted south toward the Tri-State area, though the details are still in flux.

A major snowstorm could be bad news for Republicans and their nominee in the race, Mazi Pilip, a Nassau County legislator. By party registration, Democrats hold the advantage in absentee and in-person early voting, which ended Sunday. Republicans have been counting on a robust Election Day turnout to turn the tide.

Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi’s campaign on Monday was urging supporters to go to their county board of elections office — Forest Hills in Queens and Mineola in Nassau County — to request a mail ballot, which they could hand-deliver at the same time before those offices closed Monday afternoon.

Rain is expected to change to snow around daybreak on Tuesday — right around the time polls open at 6 a.m. Snow, heavy at times, will fall throughout the day, ending in the late afternoon, perhaps early enough for the roads to be cleared before polls close at 9 p.m.

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