WATERTOWN — Mayoral candidate Allison I. Crossman will ask a judge to impound ballots after the polls close Tuesday, following up on a campaign issue raised recently over concerns of bias within the Jefferson County Board of Elections.
Her attorney, John Ciampoli, confirmed on the eve of Election Day that he’s already approached the court about moving forward with getting the ballots impounded.
Votes will still be counted on Tuesday and results announced, but then every ballot will be secured and stored under lock and key, so they can verified later, he said.
The Sheriff or city police would take custody of the ballots if so ordered by a judge.
“We want to make sure that this is a fair election for everyone,” Mrs. Crossman said Monday night.
In a news release on Oct. 26, Mrs. Crossman said she would seek to have ballots impounded, accusing the local political apparatus of bias.
Mr. Ciampoli plans to request that State Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky order that all ballots be impounded. Typically, the judge would rule on the request after the polls closed.
All of the ballots, including the memory stick from each voting machine and paper, absentee, affidavit and military ballots would be secured.
Mrs. Crossman is running against City Councilman Cody J. Horbacz and former Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith for the part-time mayor’s position. Cliff G. Olney III, who has run unsuccessful bids for council in the past, is running as a write-in candidate.
Mr. Ciampoli says the results should be under judicial scrutiny since three nonpartisan candidates are running and the county’s board of election consists of a Republican and Democratic commissioner.
The three-way mayoral race also is expected to be close, Mr. Ciampoli said.
Mr. Ciampoli stressed that he wants to make sure every person’s vote is counted, adding that “a lot could go wrong” when votes are counted on Election Day.
The attorney has been involved in other instances when ballots have been impounded in elections in the state.
Mr. Smith and Councilman Horbacz said Monday night they had heard she was going to request the ballot impoundment.
In recent weeks, the mayor’s race has become heated with Mr. Smith releasing Mrs. Crossman’s voting records for the past six years, which showed she voted in congressional and presidential elections but not for mayor or City Council.
She has accused Mr. Smith of trying to distract from city issues that voters care about.
Mrs. Crossman also has accused Jefferson County Republican Elections Commissioner Jude Seymour of saying on the record that he “unabashedly” supports Mr. Smith for mayor.
Mr. Seymour tried to keep Mrs. Crossman and Mr. Horbacz off the ballot when the two candidates ended up in a second-place tie in the June 25 mayoral primary, she said. Mr. Smith finished first.
In August, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the two candidates should continue to run in the general election.
She also has said that party politics should not play a role in the nonpartisan mayoral race.