After what has been described as a “long hard” Election Day that began around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Board of Elections workers can’t relax just yet, Genesee County Elections Commissioner Lorie Longhany said.
“The write-ins are secured at our facility,” Longhany said today. “We haven’t decided how we’re going to count them. Do we start with the city or towns with more contested races? We have to look at the intent of the voter … the voter gets the vote.”
That’s no small order, with nearly 2,000 write-ins that require manual inspection to determine the voter’s “wishes and intent,” and to ensure there are no glitches on the ballot, Longhany said. For example, if someone wrote a candidate’s name that was already on the ballot, that voids the write-in vote, she said.
A breakdown of write-ins puts Le Roy at the top with 700, Bethany at 167 for town clerk and four for town justice, Alexander at 141, Oakfield with 137, Stafford 117 and one for Pembroke. Due to the large amount of outstanding write-ins yet to be counted for Le Roy, plus an unknown amount of absentee ballots, town justice candidates Carol DiFrancisco and Tom Feeley declined to make any definitive statement about an outcome.
“Until the election is officially over, all I would say is that no one should ever think that a single vote does not matter,” DiFrancisco said. “Every LeRoyan deserves to have their vote counted.”
As for those absentee ballots, not even half of the issued ballots have been returned so far, Longhany said. Those ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and will be accepted up to next Tuesday, Nov 9.
The City of Batavia had 512 absentee ballots issued, with 192 returned; Bergen had 65 issued and 33 returned; Bethany had 19 issued and 12 returned; Byron had 44 issued and 24 returned; Le Roy had 178 issued, 99 returned; Pembroke had 69 issued, 32 returned; and Stafford had 28 and 10, respectively.
Board of Elections staff are to begin processing the absentees on Tuesday, and won’t be done until all ballots have been received by next Tuesday. The postmark will be checked and any envelopes that have Nov. 3 or later will not be counted, Longhany said.
The easier part, though, is to feed those ballots into a machine, which then tabulates a final total for the entire county, she said.
“It saves us time,” she said. “The machine is very accurate.”
She wasn’t certain when a final, official vote and related voter turnout would be announced, but believes it will be at least a few days beyond the final day to accept ballots. Veterans Day is Nov. 11, which may also slow down the process due to government offices being closed.