116th Assembly winner undetermined until end of November
The 116th Assembly District race is still in limbo. On Election Day, Republican John Byrne earned 117 more votes than incumbent Democrat Addie Russell. Who wins may come down to the absentee ballots. Close to 3,000 absentee ballots were sent out.
Absentee ballots had to be postmarked November 3, the day before Election Day. They have until the 12th to reach St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties. Ballot counting will start on November 17, the deadline for all military ballots.
St. Lawrence County Election Commissioner Jennie Bacon says counting takes time to get everything just right.
"We look every absentee up in the poll books to make sure they didn't vote on Election Day," Bacon said. "It seems like everyone is like, 'oh wow, you have to wait until the 17th.' But the 11th is Veterans Day. I'm not going to have employees here. Everything that stops the process, delays the process."
Byrne and Russell got almost the same amount of votes overall but they faired differently in the two counties. Byrne won Jefferson 50 to 45 percent. In St. Lawrence County it was the reverse, with Russell in the lead.
According to numbers from the Board of Elections, there is a slightly higher percentage of absentee votes from Jefferson County. That could help Byrne.
Tuesday night, Byrne was sure he'd keep his lead over Russell.
"I think my team worked the absentee ballots pretty hard so I think we'll be fine there," Byrne said.
Addie Russell said she hoped for the best.
"We knew there was a lot of momentum behind the Republican candidates, particularly here in the North Country," Russell said. "We knew this was going to be close, and it is."
Officials say they wont have a winner until after Thanksgiving.