Special election to replace George Santos likely to be affected by heaviest snow in two years

Entrance into polling site in Queens Village
Photo by Athena Dawson

Today is the special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, and the last chance for voters to decide who will represent a section of eastern Queens and much of Nassau County. 

But in the wake of a winter storm warning, which is bringing the heaviest snow the region has seen in two years, concerns about low turnout have been heightened. The snow is expected to taper off in the early afternoon, but slippery roads will continue to make travel conditions difficult for voters of this competitive, and close, election. 

Candidates: Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R-Great Neck)

The polls indicate that Democrat Tom Suozzi, who is running to reclaim the seat that he held from 2017 to 2023 (before stepping down to unsuccessfully run for governor), and Republican Mazi Pilip, who serves in the Nassau County Legislature, are neck to neck. A Sienna College poll, released last week in partnership with Newsday, found that Suozzi leads Pilip 48-44% among likely voters.

The winner will replace George Santos, who was booted from congress in December following nonstop scandals about lies regarding his personal and professional history. During his 11 months in office, he was also indicted on 23 federal charges that include identity theft, money laundering and stealing from campaign donors. 

In the wake of the winter storm, both candidates announced that they are offering voters in the district free rides to poll sites to ensure they can cast their ballots. 

Voters can fill out a form online to request a ride from Suozzi’s campaign team to the polls today, or call one of the numbers listed. Pilip also launched her own form to request a ride amid the snow, citing that “There’s too much at stake in this election to stay home” on X

 One NY-03 polling site, JHS 109- Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School-located in Queens Village-was mostly empty during the early afternoon hours as the winter storm roared outside. 

Heavy snow fall in Queens Village. Photo by Athena Dawson

 The big issue items for this special election include immigration, inflation, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. One voter, who declined to give his name, felt especially concerned about foreign policy. “I hope we get people that are concerned about the things I’m concerned about, which is inflation, the border crisis and foreign policy which is very big now. Someone who is knowledgeable about what is going on in Ukraine because they need to be helped very soon,” he said.

Polls have been open since 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

*Additional reporting by Athena Dawson