Close elections in Oswego County

By Debra J. Groom

Oswego County is the place to look if you want evidence that every vote counts.

The 12th district in the county legislature is being decided by one vote. The 20th district leader is up by only three votes. The 4th ward Common Council seat in Fulton came down to just two votes.

Absentee and affidavit ballots were counted beginning at 10 a.m. Nov. 12. It was a very meticulous procedure, checking to ensure all the ballots were filled out correctly and envelopes were sealed when they came in.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dick Atkins said all those who submitted absentee or affidavit ballots were verified as being registered to vote before the ballots were opened.

wen the dust settled, inbument Legisltor Douglas Malone was on top by three votes in the 20th legislative district. He tallied 266 to challenger Joseph Susino’s 263.

“This is the closest election I’ve ever had,” Malone said. “It’s the closest I ever want to have.”

Malone said even though the vote total is in his favor now, he still is looking into problems he believes occurred at the Oswego Town Hall polling place on Election Day. He said up to nine people who should have been voting in district 20 for either him or Susino were placed in district 21 instead.

“I want to make sure every vote is counted and everyone gets the chance to vote,” he said. He still is considering going to court, but he said he wants to obtain all the information on what happened before making a final decision.

Atkins said only one voter was involved in the mixup in district 20 at the Oswego Town Hall polling place.

He said nine people who were supposed to vote in district 20 were placed in district 21 instead. He said one man who showed up to vote about 10:30 a.m. wanted to vote for Malone, but Malone wasn’t on his ballot.

Atkins said he went to the polling site at 11 a.m., saw the error and moved the nine people back into district 20. But since this man had already voted, he could not revote in district 20.

He said it isn’t know if the other eight people ever showed up to vote llater in the day, but if they did, they voted in the correct district 20.

Atkins said the problem occurred due to the redistricting of the 25 legislative districts. He said in all, about 74,000 people were moved to new districts and of that number, there were only 10 voters who ended up in the wrong districts on Election Day.

Susino was ahead of Malone by eight votes as of Election Night.

In the 12th district, Schroeppel town councilman Richard Kline, who ran on the Conservative line, came out ahead of incumbent Legislator John Brandt by one vote after the absentees and affidavits were counted.

The vote total was 371 for Kline and 370 for Brandt, who ran as a Republican.

“The people made a decision, but it’s a tight decision,” Kline said after the votes were tallied. “That shows how important it is to get people out to vote.”

All vote totals are unofficial until they are certified by the Board of Elections later this month.

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