Saratoga Springs

Spa City charter review commission members demand recount

Former commission members take action in state Supreme Court
Ballots are reviewed and counted at the Saratoga County Board of Elections.
Ballots are reviewed and counted at the Saratoga County Board of Elections.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than a week after absentee ballots were counted to determine the outcome of the charter referendum, three members of the city’s former Charter Review Commission turned to the state Supreme Court to demand a recount.

On Nov. 7, the charter change, which seeks to move from the current mayor-commissioners governmental system to a government overseen by a city manager, came down to around 50 votes — 4,202 votes cast in favor of and 4,154 votes against. 

RELATED: Communication on Saratoga City Council lacking

When the absentee ballots were counted at the Saratoga County Board of Elections in Ballston Spa on Nov. 14, the margin was even closer with an unofficial count of 4,458 to 4,448. 

On Friday, former Charter Review Commission members Gordon Boyd, Bob Turner and Pat Kane began an action in state Supreme Court seeking a full review and recount of all ballots cast. 

“The current margin of 10 votes out of nearly 9,000 cast means that a review of all ballots and scanner machine records is imperative to assure that the voters can have confidence in the final count,” Boyd said.

“Our goal is to determine with the utmost certainty that the final vote tally is valid.”

The official outcome of the charter referendum is not known as votes still have to be certified.

William Fruci, a Saratoga County commissioner of elections, said litigation could lengthen the process. 

Boyd argued that voting machines are not fully accurate, which is why he, Turner and Kane are asking for a full recount. 

“The machines have a certain error rate and machines throughout Saratoga are several years old in many cases,” he said. 

Boyd added that a Dec. 20 hearing has been set. 

“We will be represented and the county will be represented,” he said. “Our supporters and a network of people who served on the commission have generously been working to make the resources available to have good representation.”

Boyd said the trio understands that the recount might not play out in their favor. 

“We realize that the outcome could change in either direction,” he said. “The ‘yes’ vote could end up behind by a larger margin than now, or the results could be reversed.”

“Either way,” he said, “the people of Saratoga Springs need to have 100 percent confidence that the results are valid.” 

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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