Absentee ballots to determine winners

Races in limbo until November 16

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 11/9/21

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Election Day 2021 has passed and all votes have been cast. Preliminary results are out, available on the Sullivan County Board of Elections website, with 13,828 votes …

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Absentee ballots to determine winners

Races in limbo until November 16

Posted

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Election Day 2021 has passed and all votes have been cast. Preliminary results are out, available on the Sullivan County Board of Elections website, with 13,828 votes tallied.

Based on those preliminary results, incumbent supervisors appear to have retained their seats in six of the county’s seven contested races: Bethel, Fallsburg, Rockland, Thompson, Highland and Neversink. Though several of those races are close, including races in Fallsburg, Thompson and Highland, the one exception so far is the Mamakating supervisor’s race, where challenger Michael W. Robbins currently holds 53 percent of the vote to Janet Lybolt’s 46 percent.

Final results for those races—including the results of races too close to call—won’t be available until absentee ballots are counted.

According to Cora Edwards, commissioner of the Sullivan County Board of Elections (BOE), the county received 1,920 absentee ballots as of Friday, November 5. That figure brings the total votes cast in Sullivan County’s 2021 local elections to 15,748, a total turnout slightly less than the 16,867 votes cast in 2019’s Sullivan County local elections. Absentee ballots can continue to come in across the county until November 9; as long as they are postmarked by November 2 and received by November 9, they are valid under New York State election law.

Originally, those absentee ballots would have been counted starting Tuesday, November 9. As of November 5, that date has been pushed back one week, to Tuesday, November 16.

“The New York State Board of Elections changed the date, and we are complying with that directive,” says Edwards.

The election shook up a number of town boards across the county, with preliminary results showing several seats changing hands. In Bethel, challenger William J. Crumley looks set to replace incumbent Dawn Ryder; the Delaware town council race has Ian Blumenthal joining incumbent Alfred Steppich on the town board, with both candidates leading by over a hundred votes over John Erik Karkula; Greg Triggs and Kevin McDonough hold leads over Glenn Swendsen and incumbent Al Smith in Tusten’s town council race.

In Cochecton, with four candidates vying for two town council slots, incumbent Sean Nearing maintained his seat on the board, while Dr. Paul Salzberg lost his. John Nober has a 14-vote lead over Kambri Crews for Salzberg’s seat, with the board of elections reporting 27 absentee ballots received.

Several races in Highland could be affected by absentee ballots, with the BOE reporting 67 absentee ballots received. Incumbent supervisor Jeffrey Haas currently leads challenger John Pizzolato by 25 votes, and incumbent town council member Chris Tambini leads challenger Laura Burrell by nine votes, both races close enough to be flipped by the absentee ballots.

Incumbent Thompson supervisor Bill Rieber currently holds a 76-vote lead over challenger Scott Mace, with 164 absentee ballots reported by the BOE.

The Mamakating supervisor’s race is currently decided by enough of a margin that absentee ballots would not make a difference. Robbins currently holds a 169 vote lead over Lybolt, with 104 absentee ballots reported by the BOE. But absentee ballots could continue to come in, and the town council races are much closer, with only one vote separating the candidates for Ward 3 council member, Matthew Morden and John Lacey, and several other wards being close.

In Fallsburg, incumbent supervisor Steven Vegilante has received 1,102 votes to challenger Katherine Rappaport’s 696, leaving him with a 406-vote lead. But the BOE reports 979 absentee ballots from Fallsburg, over half the county-wide total, leaving the race too close to call.

For full preliminary results, see the Sullivan County Board of Elections website at bit.ly/3bLA2LR. For more elections news, see riverreporter.com/election-news.

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