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Election errors could lead to new $30,000 primary
Geneseo, N.Y.With nearly 60 ballots in question, Conservative Party leadership has broached the idea of seeking a new primary.
The Livingston County Board of Elections is still receiving absentee ballots and will not be able to certify ballots for at least a week, according to elections commissioners. In the interim, some are already thinking about getting the court involved.
It certainly is looking more and more that way, said Jason McGuire, Conservative Party Chairman. Out of the 377 ballots that we believe were cast in that race, it looks like between 15 and 16 percent of those were given out irrespective of party affiliation, thats a problem, you cant do that in New York.
On Tuesday elections commissioners received word from inspectors at two of the 27 polling sites in Livingston County, that elections inspectors handed out ballots regardless of party affiliation, a violation of state law.
James Szczesniak won the Conservative party line by one vote. His opponent, Tom Dougherty won the Republican line by 157 votes.
During the 2013 conservative primary, Sessler and Eric Schiener were in the midst of a close race. The race became a tie after a judge allowed a vote cast late to count. Four weeks after the primary, a committee voted for Schiener, though he ultimately lost to Democrat Greg McCaffrey.
Its the difference between being involved in a train wreck and watching a train wreck, said Steve Sessler, a Geneseo attorney and former candidate for district attorney.
Its much easier to watch one than to be involved with one, added Sessler. Although, I feel for both of the candidates, I know exactly what they are going through.
Sessler said he feels badly for the candidates, but the issue has more to do with voters.
I think that the difficulty that I have, it appears as though there are now two years where irregularities seem to exist, said Sessler. The difficulty that I really have with that is that there are two elections where it appears as if voters have been disenfranchised.
The Board of Elections must certify votes which would include a decision regarding the votes in question, said Sessler. Once that occurs, either candidate or party chairman could file objections which may result in a new primary, according to state law.
The votes in question are locked in a secure room at the Board of Elections office, meanwhile, elections commissioners are collecting absentee ballots, beginning the re-canvass of voting machines and preparing for a post-election audit which is set for Monday.
What Went Wrong
No clear explanation has been given as to why this happened. Republican Commissioner Nancy Leven told 13WHAM News Thursday that she had not scheduled a meeting with the inspectors who were working at the time.
If a new primary is necessary, it would cost at least $30,000, according to Leven.