Counting ordered to resume Monday in state Supreme Court race

Friday, November 16, 2012
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— Ballot counting stopped briefly this week in the too-close-to-call race for a state Supreme Court post in the 4th Judicial District.

But Judge Vincent Reilly ruled Friday that counting will begin again Monday in all 11 counties that are part of the district.

Montgomery County Court Judge Felix Catena, a Republican who is ahead by 61 votes in unofficial results, asked for counting to stop Wednesday. He wanted to count only three counties at a time, so his three attorneys could supervise the process.

Franklin County Family Court Magistrate John Ellis, the Republican who trails Catena, asked Reilly to allow counting in all the counties at once so the result can be determined quickly.

“Election law doesn’t guarantee you a right to object to every ballot, just a right to be there,” Ellis said.

Reilly agreed and ordered counting to resume Monday morning.

There are thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in a race where hundreds of thousands of votes were cast. Catena had 135,616 votes and Ellis 135,555 by the unofficial tally.

The election was for four judgeships in the district, with three winners already determined — sitting Supreme Court Judge Joseph Sise, Schenectady Family Court Judge Christine Clark and Rotterdam attorney Thomas Buchanan.

The unsuccessful candidates were three Democrats: Mark Powers, a Schenectady County Family Court judge; Jeffrey Wait, a Saratoga Springs City Court judge, and John Silvestri, an attorney from Chestertown.

Justices serve 14-year terms and will be paid $174,000 annually after three years of raises authorized to begin this year.

The 4th Judicial District encompasses Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington counties.

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