GOUVERNEUR — With all but a few ballots left to count, Harry A. Smithers II, R-Gouverneur, has moved closer to retaining his District 5 seat on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators.
According to updated, but still unofficial, results provided by the county Board of Elections, Mr. Smithers holds a 285-vote, or 12.7-point, lead over his Democratic opponent, Amber L. Ormasen of Gouverneur. This count includes all absentee ballots and some affidavit ballots, the latter of which are still being processed.
“I think it was a good contest,” Mr. Smithers said Tuesday. “I had a good opponent. Amber Ormasen did well and I want just to thank all the ones that voted for me.
“I will do my best to represent the towns of Gouverneur and DePeyster,” he added.
While county Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Tom A. Nichols said the results should be formally certified by the end of the week, it’s very unlikely Mrs. Ormasen will be able to make up the difference in ballots needed to win.
There were more than 600 affidavit ballots submitted by county voters, only a portion of which will be accepted as valid ballots, and even fewer of which would be cast in District 5, which encompasses the towns of Gouverneur and DePeyster. Theoretically, Mrs. Ormasen would need at least 298 more votes to overcome Mr. Smithers and win a majority.
Though it doesn’t appear to have been enough, Mrs. Ormasen did make up a sizable amount of votes after absentees were processed. After election night and early voting returns were processed, Mrs. Ormasen trailed by 21.62 points. Based on the unofficial updated results, it appears Mrs. Ormasen received 273 of the 440 absentee and affidavit votes that were counted at that point.
In St. Lawrence County, Democrats accounted for a much larger portion of absentee votes than Republicans. On Election Day, well before any results were in, the county Board of Elections provided data on the number of absentee ballots sent out to voters in the county. Of the 10,211 absentee ballots sent to voters, 49.3% of those were sent to Democrats, while only 26.5% were sent to Republicans with the rest going to independents and minor party members. Those proportions worked in favor of District 11 county Board of Legislators candidate Suzanne M. Fiacco, D-Stockholm, who trailed after election night, but took the lead after absentees were counted.
Mrs. Ormasen didn’t immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.