Mayoral race may require manual recount

DAYTONA NILES/WATERTOWN DAILY TIMESCody Horbacz and Allison Crossman react to a tie vote after the Jefferson County Board of Elections tallied absentee ballots Monday at the board’s office.

WATERTOWN — Tuesday brought no clarity as to how a tied race for who will challenge Jeffrey M. Smith for mayor in November will be resolved.

Mr. Smith was the top vote-getter in the June 25 primary election, meaning he moves on to the general election, but Cody J. Horbacz and Allison I. Crossman are deadlocked after absentee ballots were tallied Monday at the Jefferson County Board of Elections.

Mrs. Crossman came out of the primary with a 14-vote lead over Mr. Horbacz, but he made up the difference when absentee and affidavit ballots were tabulated. The top two vote-getters in the primary are supposed to square off in the general election, but absent that it is unclear how the November election should proceed. Cliff G. Olney III finished in fourth in the race.

Jude R. Seymour, the county Board of Elections Republican chairman, said Mr. Horbacz and Mrs. Crossman came to the board’s office Tuesday and a manual recount of the absentee ballots was conducted, but the results remained unchanged.

“Their section of the ballots revealed that the computer results held up,” Mr. Seymour said.

Babette Hall, Democratic election commissioner, said valid absentee ballots could still have been received as of Tuesday, provided they had been postmarked by June 24, but that no additional ballot or ballots had appeared by the end of the business day.

The board is still awaiting word from state election officials as to how the matter might be sorted out, Mr. Seymour said.

Mr. Horbacz said Tuesday that he and Mrs. Crossman will be requesting that a hand canvass of all of the votes cast in the mayoral primary be conducted.

“I talked to Allison and we feel that it’s the most fair thing to do,” he said.

Mr. Horbacz said there is a 34-vote discrepancy between the number of votes cast in the mayor’s race and the number of votes counted, although it is possible some of those ballots were intentionally left blank.

However, it is also possible that, rather than completely fill in the bubble on the paper ballot, a voter may have circled the bubble or marked it with an “X,” resulting in the computer scanner not registering the vote. Mr. Horbacz said the only way to review these ballots is through a hand canvass.

“Every vote should be counted,” he said.

Sarah V. Compo, Jesse C.P. Roshia, Robert T. Schorr and Patrick Hickey took the top four spots in the primary for City Council seats and will compete for two openings in November.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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