Absentee update: May beats Rodgers, Renna campaign objects to nearly 500 ballots
Central New York Democratic State Sen. Rachel May has declared victory over Republican challenger Sam Rodgers in the 53rd state Senate race. May leads by more than 10,000 votes, with about 5,000 absentee ballots left to be counted. In a statement, May said she's grateful central New Yorkers voted decisively to give her a second term.
Meanwhile, Onondaga County started counting absentee ballots in the 50th state Senate race between Republican Angi Renna and Democrat John Mannion. Renna’s campaign has objected to nearly 500 ballots, over issues like time stamps of when ballots were received and matching signatures. A campaign has the right to make objections, but it’s raising some concerns.
Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said Thursday saw a huge increase in absentee ballot objections from Renna's campaign, and it’s happening at a rate he’s never seen before.
“It seems like they’re throwing the kitchen sink at these voters to try to knock off as many Democratic ballots as possible,” Czarny said.
Board of Elections staff and volunteers from the candidates’ campaigns have been going through absentee ballots. They’re looking at signatures, time stamps, date of births and making sure the correct boxes are checked, before the absentee ballots are scanned. It only takes one person to object to a ballot. Those ballots are set aside and a campaign has three days, after the end of counting, to take them to a judge to rule if they’re valid or not. Czarny said he’ll contest Renna’s objections in court.
“They’re alleging hundreds of cases of voter fraud, which just doesn’t exist,” Czarny said.
Republican Elections Commissioner Michele Sardo said while there are a lot of objections from Renna’s campaign, it’s normal.
“We have campaigns every year objecting to something wrong with the ballot," Sardo said. "They see something different, their signature changes.”
More than 4,500 absentee ballots in the Renna, Mannion race have been counted in Onondaga County, so far. Mannion is winning about 68% of those, which cuts into Renna’s 7,000 vote lead on election night. Counting is expected to continue into next week.
Katko with insurmountable lead over Balter
Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) all but wrapped up his reelection Thursday. Katko led Democrat Dana Balter by about 55,000 votes on election night. Balter has slowly chipped away at Katko's lead, but as of Thursday evening, Katko's lead sits at 44,729. There are just over 44,000 absentee ballots left to count, and about 5,000 affidavit ballots. Balter would need to win nearly 100% of those ballots to overtake Katko, which isn't likely.
Brindisi gains on Tenney
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) trailed Republican Claudia Tenney by about 28,000 votes on election night. Brindisi is starting to make up some ground, but has a tough path ahead of him. After counting wrapped up Thursday, Tenney's lead has shrunk to just over 21,000 votes. Three counties in the eight-county 22nd District did not report their absentee counts Thursday, including Oneida County.