The race for Malta town supervisor got tighter Wednesday as absentee ballots were counted, leaving the race still too close to call.
After the 112 absentee ballots were counted by the Saratoga County Board of Elections in Ballston Spa, Democrat Cynthia Young’s lead over incumbent Republican Paul Sausville had shrunk to just four votes.
However, 23 ballots are in dispute for various reasons and haven’t been opened. Those ballots will be opened by the Board of Elections on Monday unless lawyers for one of the two candidates decide to take the matter to state Supreme Court because they believe some of the ballots are invalid.
It isn’t clear if that will happen.
“I want everything opened up. We don’t want them opened up by onesies and twosies,” said James E. Walsh of Schenectady, the lawyer representing Sausville.
“Four votes is a very tight margin,” said Kathleen O’Keefe of Albany, the lawyer representing Young. “They knew from the very beginning this would be a very tight race.”
In something of a surprise, Young led Sausville by 12 votes when the polls closed on Election Night. Her lead grew to 13 after the voting machines were recanvassed.
Sausville was seeking his fifth two-year term in a town that generally votes Republican. Sausville, however, has been a controversial figure, taking a stronger stand against development than anyone else on the Town Board.
Young has said plans for a high-density downtown that Sausville opposes needed to be pursued. She also favors taking measures to improve the economic viability of the Luther Forest Technology Campus, home to the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant, which has been unable to attract any other businesses.
The 112 absentee ballots were reviewed and opened district by district Wednesday. Sausville gained a few votes in each district and even led by three votes at one point. The candidates were tied after 11 election districts were reviewed, and Young then gained her four-vote advantage when votes in the 12th and final election district were counted.
If she wins, Young would become the first Democrat elected to townwide office in about 25 years and only the fifth Democrat on the 23-member county Board of Supervisors.
Sausville, if he wins the election, is in line to become chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 2014, which is another reason the race has been closely watched across the county.
The Malta supervisor serves a two-year term. The town salary will be $31,415 next year, and the county pays supervisors $18,509 a year.