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Some Lewis County Election Races Canít Be Determined Until Write-In, Absentee, and Affidavit Ballots Counted and Results Certified

 

Published: November 08, 2023 at 11:30 a.m.

By: Nick Altmire

 

Lewis County, NY- While the majority of contested races in Lewis County were determined following ballot tabulations and the release of unofficial results after the close of polls last evening, there are a number of races where we will need to await the certified official results. As per New York State law, County Election Boards have until December 2, 2023 to canvas and certify their results.

 

In the race for District Attorney, incumbent Leanne K. Moser (D) is currently trailing challenger Jeffery Tompkins (R/C) by 49 votes as of Wednesday morning. Mr. Tompkins currently has 3,009 votes to Ms. Moserís 2,960. While the process for counting absentee ballots changed in New York State in 2021, there are still 105 absentee ballots outstanding in the county according to the Lewis County Board of Elections. Prior to 2021, local Election Boards had to wait until 10 days after the election to open and count all absentee ballots at the same time. Starting in 2021 the statute changed, allowing absentee ballots to be opened and counted as they are received. All absentee ballots that have been returned as of this morning are included in the current vote totals. Any valid absentee ballot had to be postmarked by yesterday but can still be received at the Board of Elections in the coming days. Absentee ballot counts will be updated and added daily to the Lewis County Board of Elections website. Although there are still 105 absentee ballots that are outstanding (meaning a ballot was issued but has not been received back), that does not mean all 105 ballots will be returned. There are also 29 affidavit ballots in the county that are not yet included in the totals. An affidavit ballot occurs when there is an issue or discrepancy when someone shows up to vote in person. This could be a voter showing up to the wrong polling location, having a name change that doesnít match their voter registration information, or other similar situations. In those cases, the voter signs an affidavit confirming their identity and residence and the Election Commissioners then investigate and verify if the ballot is valid or not. This process can take some time and the approved affidavit ballots will appear in the final certified results. With all of this information in mind, a winner in the District Attorney race canít be declared until we have the certified vote count on or before December 2.

 

Another factor impacting some races are ballots with a write-in candidate. The names of candidates receiving write-in votes are not released until the results have been certified (on or before December 2). The process is time consuming, with ballots containing a write-in candidate having to be identified and the write-in names tallied. Most races impacted by this were races that had no declared candidate on the ballot for the position. This was the case for:

      Harrisburg Town Clerk/Collector- No Candidate, 25 write-in ballots

      Lewis Town Clerk- No candidate, 23 write-in ballots

      Leyden Town Highway Superintendent- No candidate, 136 write-in ballots

      Lyonsdale Town Clerk- No candidate, 56 write-in ballots

      Martinsburg Town Tax Collector- No candidate, 17 write-in ballots

      Montague Town Clerk/Collector- No candidate, 8 write-in ballots

      New Bremen Town Council- No candidate, 127 write-in ballots

      Osceola Town Supervisor- No candidate, 25 write-in ballots

      Port Leyden Village Trustee (To Fill a Vacancy)- No candidate, 66 write in ballots

 

There are also a few races where there was a declared candidate on the ballot, but the number of write-in ballots exceeds their vote total. While we know the number of ballots containing a write-in candidate, we do not know how many people the write-in ballots are split amongst. This was the case for:

      Montague Town Council (2 seats)- Michael Kiernan has 20 votes, Richard Williams has 11 votes, while there are 12 write-in ballots

      Port Leyden Village Mayor- Shawn Smith has 63 votes while there are 115 write-in ballots

      Port Leyden Village Trustee (2 seats)- Erin Mikesell has 59 votes while there are 217 write-in ballots

 

Lewis County Board of Elections Commissioners ask for patience as all ballots are canvassed and the certification process takes place, with official results available on or before the December 2, 2023 certification deadline.

 

We will release certified results for all races as soon as they are available.

 

 

Note: This article was updated at 5:45 p.m. to include Osceola Town Supervisor with the listed write-in contests with no declared candidate on the ballot.

 

 

 

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