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Liv. County Conservative Party primary a tie
Geneseo, N.Y. - It's a tie.
One week after the Livingston County's sheriff primary, there is still no definitive loser.
On Tuesday, September 10, Sherif'fs Investigator Thomas Dougherty won the Republican line by 157 votes. His opponent, Undersheriff Jim Szczesniak won the Conservative line by one vote.
On Tuesday morning affidavit and absentee ballots for each primary were counted by Board of Elections officials in the presence of each candidate and 13WHAM News.
One additional Conservative Party vote was cast for Tom Dougherty meaning the Conservative Party primary ends in a tie with each candidate receiving 159 votes.
A few additional Republican Party ballots were counted but not enough to influence the outcome. In the end Tom Dougherty remains the Republican Party's candidate with a final vote margin of 160. (3,942 to 3,782)
Pretty unreal, said Doughtery. I'm happy about the Republican line, they said officially it was 160 we were up, but a tie on the Conservative I don't think you could script this.
"Clearly here in Livingston County we have a habit of making these votes very close and the results this morning indicate a tie on the Conservative line so there are facts yet to be determined and it's not over, said Szczesniak. We have to look at the facts and make some decisions going forward.
At least 59 ballots were mistakenly given to voters regardless of their party affiliation, according to the Board of Elections.
They should have been given specifically to registered Republicans and Conservatives. Election officials state those 59 ballots were counted as Conservative Party votes even though some were definitely cast by registered Republicans.
"We continue to weigh our legal options, we have to make a decision in a relatively short time frame now as to whether or not we're going to go to court and seek an additional primary, said Livingston County Conservative Party Chairman Jason McGuire. Approximately 59 Republican voters had a say in this primary that's in violation of the law so we need to go ahead and take a look at that and then there's the option of actually going back to the committee and the committee actually casting a tie-breaking vote.
Scheduling and executing another county-wide primary in a matter of weeks would be an expensive and daunting challenge.
Chairman McGuire notes that the political landscape has changed since September 10th and wondering whether that is fair to each candidate is one thing his committee is weighing. So too is the taxpayer cost of another election.
"As residents and voters in this county we really have to take into account the fiscal implications, said McGuire. We certainly don't want to add on a $30,000 price tag but I will quickly add this is not a burden on the Conservative Party this really is on the Board of Elections and the responsibility to maintain the integrity of that process.