Leadership of Schoharie County towns hangs on absentee ballots
SCHOHARIE COUNTY The political picture for three town supervisors in Schoharie County rests in a final absentee ballot count planned for Nov. 19.
If all three incumbents in Fulton, Blenheim and Wright are ousted by absentee ballots, it would mean voters ousted a total of five of the county’s 16 town supervisors.
Tuesday’s voting left several races too close to call, including Fulton town supervisor, where current supervisor and county board Chairman Phil Skowfoe, a Democrat, holds a two-vote lead over Republican Francis Tatten.
The county Board of Elections distributed 27 absentee ballots to Fulton voters, far more than enough to tip the 214–212 tally either way.
Skowfoe said Wednesday he’s hopeful that the absentee ballots will fall in line with the machine votes and he’ll wind up with a few votes more than Tatten.
“I’ll feel confident when it’s over,” Skowfoe said.
Tatten said the turnout in Tuesday’s election confirms what he believes about voters: “They want a change.”
He said he believes Democrats have been dwindling in numbers in the town of Fulton, and Republican voters are conscientious about getting their vote in, even through absentee ballots.
“We think we’re going to win it,” Tatten said.
Six votes separate incumbent Blenheim Town Supervisor Robert Mann Jr., a Republican, from Democrat Shawn Smith. Machine totals put 70 votes in Smith’s favor compared with 64 for Mann, and 10 absentee ballots were sent out for Blenheim, according to the Board of Elections. Mann would have to get at least nine of the absentee votes to beat Smith, though.
The vote for Wright town supervisor is similarly tight, with incumbent Republican Amber Bleau trailing challenger Karl Remmers by three votes.
As many as 42 absentee votes could be counted if all the ballots sent out for Wright are returned, more than enough to influence the 320-317 Election Day tally.
Already certain for 2014 are changes in supervisor in the towns of Cobleskill and Jefferson.
Incumbent Cobleskill Supervisor Democrat Thomas Murray lost to Republican Leo T. McAllister, and absentee ballots won’t overcome McAllister’s roughly 700-vote lead.
And incumbent Conservative Jefferson Supervisor Daniel Singletary can’t overcome Republican opponent Sean Jordan even if he gets votes on all 36 absentee ballots that were sent out.
Tuesday’s final tally of 245-185 gives Jordan a 60-vote lead.
Schoharie County Board of Elections Election specialist Colleen Benton said the department did not field any complaints about malfunctioning machines or access to polling sites.
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 4, so they could arrive any day. Ballots cast by members of the military can arrive up through Nov. 17.
The Board of Elections will begin ballot-counting at 9 a.m. Nov. 19.