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Few step forward to battle incumbents in senate races

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All seven of Queens’ state senate seats are up for grabs, but only four of the races have drawn challengers for the general election in November.

The city Board of Elections is hoping to solve confusion over polling locations in all of the borough’s races by remailing notices instructing voters where to cast their ballots.

Redrawn district boundaries changed some voters’ poll sites, creating frustration among borough residents. In some areas, such as southeast Queens, the problem was compounded when a computer glitch read poll locations incorrectly, sending voters to PS 118 rather than PS 18, for example.

Despite the chaos during the primary elections, the Board of Elections is not changing polling sites, contrary to an article published in Monday’s Newsday, said board spokeswoman Naomi Bernstein. The new notices are merely for clarification, since many residents have complained they either did not receive the first mailing or did not read it, she said.

In what has become a particularly uneventful political season for state legislative races, three of the incumbents – Ada Smith (D-Jamaica), Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and Malcolm Smith D-St. Albans) have no challengers.

Fellow incumbents George Onorato (D-Long Island City), Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) and Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) are facing opposition. The seventh race is taking place in a newly created district in Jackson Heights, where there is no incumbent.

Some of the borough’s senate seats changed district numbers and boundaries under the redistricting process, based on the 2000 Census.

A new senate district, now the 13th, was created in Jackson Heights, while two old senate districts – in the Forest Hills and Flushing area – were combined to form one district. Other boundaries were also moved, forcing senators to trade neighborhoods to accommodate populations shifts in the borough.

Here are the state senate candidates, according to the state Board of Elections:

10th SD — Jamaica, South Jamaica, Brookville, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans, Laurelton, Forest Hills and Richmond Hill — State Sen. Ada Smith (D-Jamaica) does not have an opponent.

11th SD — Bellerose, Bayside, Whitestone, Little Neck and College Point — State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) has no opponent.

12th SD — Astoria, Long Island City, West Maspeth, Ridgewood and Woodside — Incumbent George Onorato (D-Long Island City) will face Republican Marie Lynch and Green Party member Ann Eagan.

13th SD — Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona and part of Woodside — Democrat John Sabini and Charles Castro, who is running on the Independence and Working Families lines, are vying for the Jackson Heights seat.

14th SD — St. Albans, Queens Village, Cambria Heights, Fresh Meadows, Hollis Hills and Jamaica Estates — There is no opponent for state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans).

15th SD — Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach — State Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) faces Green Party candidate Dorothy Williams-Pereira and Working Families candidate Pamela Peters.

16th SD — Forest Hills, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Flushing, Jamaica Estates and College Point — Longtime Democrat, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) will face former City Councilwoman Julia Harrison, who is running on the Independence and Liberal tickets, and Conservative Mark Ralin.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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