Hollingsworth, McClain win Tupper village board race

TUPPER LAKE — The Franklin County Board of Elections has counted absentee ballots for the village board race here, and the uncertified numbers they presented Friday show incumbent Clint Hollingsworth and political newcomer Jason McClain winning the two available seats on the board of trustees.

Local businessman Eric Shaheen could not make up the in-person vote gap through absentee votes. Approximately the same percentage of votes were cast for each of the three candidates in mailed-in absentee ballots as at the polls on Election Day and in early voting.

The final, certified vote count is still yet to be announced, as military and federal ballots have yet to be counted, but Franklin County Republican Election Commissioner Tracy Sparks said it is unlikely those will change the results of the election more than a few numbers. There are three military and federal ballots to be counted in the village election. Sparks said eight affidavit ballots were counted with the absentee ballots.

The unofficial vote count, including absentee ballots, has Hollingsworth, a former Democrat turned Republican, with a strong lead at 937 votes — approximately 40% of the total votes. McClain, another Republican, comes in second with 754 votes — approximately 33%. Shaheen, running on the independent Maple Leaf Party line, was around 125 votes short of McClain with 629 votes — 27% of the vote.

Sparks said the Board of Elections still needs to go back through and canvass ballots, essentially double-checking the machines’ work. They will conduct a “3% audit,” which involves hand-counting every ballot of a random machine from the county, checking ballots against unofficial numbers.

She said this process sometimes changes the official numbers, but not by much — usually one or two numerals.

Sparks said the Board of Elections takes these precautions every election but that it is lasting longer this year because of the large number of absentee ballots. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, New York state let anyone vote absentee using the illness excuse.

Their goal is to certify all county votes by Nov. 25.


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