Absentee ballots decide Princetown elections

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
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— Her seventh run for public office was her toughest, but Carol McClaine ultimately emerged victorious in her bid for Princetown town clerk.

The Conservative incumbent ended the race after squeaking out a seven-vote victory over Republican-endorsed challenger Sandra Fortune to land another four years in office. McClaine, who was up by four votes when polls closed last week, picked up 17 votes to the 14 landed by Fortune when absentee ballots were counted this week.

McClaine blamed the close race on the negative campaign Republicans waged. She said the question now will be whether they can put politics aside.

“I hope they realize it’s cooperation that gets things done,” she said Wednesday.

The Schenectady County Board of Elections still needs to open five affidavit ballots in Princetown races, meaning it’s mathematically impossible for Fortune to win. Yet the affidavit ballots could still have a pronounced impact on the still-undecided race for the one outstanding seat on the Town Board. Democrat Doug Gray, a former town board member, is hanging onto a four-vote lead over Loretta Kuhland, his Republican-endorsed challenger.

If Gray lands one vote from the affidavit ballots, he’ll emerge victorious. And if Kuhland manages four votes to keep the race deadlocked, the all-Republican Town Board will appoint someone to the position until a special election can be conducted in November 2014 for the remaining three years of the term.

If Gray wins, he’ll join a Town Board that already has four Republican members. Incumbent town Supervisor Mike Joyce and board member Robert Myers both handily won new terms. Also, GOP candidate William Reynolds managed to unseat longtime incumbent Town Justice Michelle Van Woeart.

Along with the two Princetown races, a third couldn’t be called definitively when preliminary results came in from the election last week. Still unresolved is the race between incumbent District 3 Legislator Cathy Gatta and Republican challenger Alan Boulant.

Democrat Gatta now leads by a margin of 89 votes, with 505 absentee ballots and 59 affidavit ballots to be counted. Republicans took the issue to state Supreme Court in Schenectady County this week in order set up the process of counting the outstanding ballots.

Tallying is expected to start this morning and continue through Friday unless one of the candidates manages to secure an insurmountable lead, according to officials with the county Board of Elections.

Republicans have a slight advantage, with 205 ballots from enrolled Republicans and 165 from enrolled Democrats. Democrats, however, could have an advantage with the affidavit ballots.

On Jan. 1, the GOP will have two seats on the Schenectady County Legislature. Grant Socha, a Conservative endorsed by the Republicans, is expected to caucus with the Legislature’s minority.

But even if Boulant wins, the Democrats will retain the Legislature’s majority.

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November 14, 2013
8:04 a.m.
tonijean613 says...

Why are Absentee Ballots counted behind closed doors and in secret instead of in public view on election night? Why aren't they feeded into the "secret vote counting machines" with the rest of ballots on election day? Voters need to start demanding
transparency with the VOTE COUNT- How do we trust that the "insiders" didn't add in a few extra "absentee ballots" or manipulate the ballots behind closed doors?
The system cannot be trusted as is. The old lever machines were actually more trustworthy because you would be able to see any "tampering"- We the public cannot See how the "programmer" has programmed the machines to count the votes- so you can vote for X but the Computer can say- a vote for X really equals adding or subtracting a Vote for Y. If they can COUNT Absentee Ballots behind closed doors after election day- Then we can HAND COUNT ALL BALLOTS ON ELECTION NIGHT in Public View and POST results at the Precinct Door. Google BlackBoxVoting,,, Center For Hand Counted Ballots-
They Hand Count (thus Verify) Ballots in may towns on election night with a fresh team of counters in a few hours.

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