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Absentee ballots crucial in judge race

November 9, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER - For the Enterprise

Despite reports Wednesday that there were four winners in the 11-county Fourth Judicial District's state Supreme Court race, one candidate says the final spot on the court is too close to call at this time.

Montgomery County Court Judge Felix Catena said today he leads family court magistrate John Ellis, of Tupper Lake, by only 61 votes.

"The numbers seem to be all over the place from the reporters to the board of elections," said Catena. "As far as we can tell, I am ahead of John Ellis by 61 votes."

Catena said the election results were much closer than previously reported.

According to Catena, he is ahead of John Ellis 135,616 to 135,555.

That leaves the election to be decided by the absentee ballots that will be counted later next week.

"The absentee ballots could be opened as soon as next Tuesday," Catena said.

Catena couldn't say how many absentee ballots there are, but he described them to be in the thousands.

A total of eight candidates ran for four judgeships in the district, and the election night results provided three clear winners, leaving the fourth seat to be decided.

The other reported winners were sitting Supreme Court Judge Joseph Sise, Schenectady Family Court Judge Christine Clark and Rotterdam attorney Thomas Buchanan.

Other candidates were Mark Powers, Jeffrey Wait and John Silvestri.

The Fourth Judicial District includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, St. Lawrence and Washington counties.

The justices that get elected will take office in January for 14-year terms and be paid $136,700 annually.

The state Board of Elections did not return a phone call seeking comment.


Levi Pascher is a reporter for the Leader-Herald newspaper of Gloversville.



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