Breaking down voter turnout in Franklin, Essex counties

A woman votes in Thursday’s primary election in the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

SARANAC LAKE — The Democratic primary on Thursday drew voters in the party from around the state to polls to vote on the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general primary races, as well as a sheriff primary race in Franklin County.

1,508 Essex Democrats and 1,814 Franklin Democrats turned out to cast their support for one of the candidates for governor, the highest office in the state, lieutenant governor, the governor’s second-in-command and attorney general, the state’s chief legal advisor to the governor and top law enforcement officer.

By the numbers

Harrietstown saw 406 registered Democrats show up to vote, with all voting in the governor election and all but two voting in the sheriff election. Incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who won the state-wide primary, led actress-activist Cynthia Nixon 261 to 144 with one write-in vote and four undervotes, ballots disqualified because of unclear marking by the voter. Cuomo led Nixon 940 to 874 in Franklin County and 899 to 609 in Essex county.

In the lieutenant governor race between incumbent Kathy Hochul and Jumaane Williams, a three-term New York City councilman, Hochul beat out Williams 225 to 150 in Harrietstown, 1,070 to 595 in Franklin County and 770 to 634 in Essex County. Hochul won state-wide as well.

New York City public advocate Letitia James won the four-way attorney general race against U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Verizon executive Leecia Eve and attorney Zepher Teachout, to become the first black woman to win a major party statewide nomination.

James did not earn many votes in Franklin and Essex Counties, with Teachout sweeping Essex with a 491-vote lead out of 1,437 total — James took 274 votes– and clinching Franklin with a two-point lead above Maloney to bring her to 652 votes — James took 310 votes.

Teachout also swept Harrietstown with 205 votes, compared to James’ 76. This race had 28 undervotes.

The attorney general seat become open in May when Eric Schneiderman resigned abruptly, within 24 hours of four women saying he physically abused them. Currently Democrat Barbara Underwood is filling the temporary role.

The newly-started Reform Party primary for attorney general had poor turnout in both counties, with a total of 33 votes for candidates Nancy Silwa, Mike Diederich and Christopher Garvey in both counties and four write-ins.

Silwa scored the only Reform Party vote in Harrietstown. She took the primary with over 50 percent of the vote, totaling 10,774. The Reform Party allowed independent voters to vote in their primary.

“I think I won!”

Mallach sat in the middle of a crowd of her family, staff and supporters, tallying election numbers from around the county as they came in through texts or calls to various people around the room. Everyone in the Voters for Change office on Broadway carried an air of excited apprehension, calling out numbers, watching Mallach tally them up and silently calculating the numbers in their heads.

Sheriff’s department employee Bruce Barney was also running for the office on the Democratic line and was assumed to have lots of support in his hometown of Malone.

When vote counts were in from everywhere but the towns of Franklin and Bangor, Mallach was assessed as having a 189 vote lead.

“Well? What do you think?” Asked one of those in attendance.

“I think I won,” Mallach exclaimed to rising applause. The tension in the room was relieved.

Moments later, a cork hit the ceiling and a bottle of champagne was poured into Dixie cups and passed around the room.

Mallach, a Harrietstown Town Council member, had been making Get Out the Vote calls until that morning, but took off after a few to spend time with her family. She voted at the town hall in the afternoon.

Mallach took a lead in her town of Harrietstown, 330 to 74 with six undervotes. County-wide she won 1,007 to 789 and also had major support in Tupper Lake, where she earned 138 of the 189 total votes.

Mallach said she plans to continue traveling the county and talking about the issues with voters, hearing concerns and ideas from employees of the sheriff’s department and preparing for the general election in November against Republican incumbent Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill.

There are still 149 absentee ballots to be tallied but that is not enough to sway the results.

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