Saranac Lake election results confirmed

Saranac Lake village Clerk Amanda Hopf signs each side of a taped box of ballots from the village election on Tuesday night. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

SARANAC LAKE – Sean Ryan and Aurora White were officially elected to fill two open seats on the Saranac Lake Village Board on Saturday after a recount by the Franklin County Board of Elections confirmed the vote totals from election night.

Ryan and White were the top two vote-getters in the unofficial total of votes on election night, but the 17-vote difference between second-place White and fellow Democrat Paul Van Cott, whom she was running on a joint ticket with, was close enough that village election officials were required by law to call for the county Board of Elections to conduct a recount. Recounts are required when candidates are within 20 votes of each other, due to the passage of a new state law passed a few years ago.

The recount confirmed the unofficial vote totals with one minor exception: Fred Balzac, a Democrat who ran a write-in campaign, actually gathered 33 votes, not 34 votes as the village had announced previously. One of the ballots contained a double vote for Balzac.

Franklin County Republican Election Commissioner Tracy Sparks said on Saturday that the number of votes between White and Van Cott were the exact same as they had been reported in the unofficial totals.

“It feels wonderful for the community to put their trust in me. I’m excited to get going here and I hope I can do everyone proud,” Ryan said.

Sean Ryan (Provided photo)

Making voters proud, to him, means working hard, doing research and working together as a board. Ryan said the community has been dying for transparency, cooperation and trust from their village government.

White said she is grateful to the community for their support.

She doesn’t get sworn in until April 1, but she said she’s already started work. She’s been reviewing the budget the village is currently working on. Her first order of business will be to get through this budget cycle and she said she’ll be joining the board’s budget work session on Monday with questions about it.

White said affordable housing priority is a priority for her, but first, she wants the board to get a collaborative dynamic set, so they can work together on this issue.

The recount was completed earlier than expected. Initially anticipated by Friday, the date was pushed back until Monday after county election officials stopped half-way. There was a more urgent deadline for prescanning absentee ballots for the April 2 presidential primary before early voting began Saturday.

Aurora White (Provided photo)

But Sparks said they were able to finish the recount on Saturday while they were at the office for early voting. There was very low turnout in the Republican and Democratic presidential primary matchups – only eight people as of 5 p.m., Sparks said, so they had plenty of time to finish it.

All four candidates on the ballot had vote totals within one 40-vote range.

There were a total of 892 ballots cast in Saranac Lake on Election Day, and 82 absentee ballots returned out of 105 issued for a total of 974 ballots.

Independently affiliated Ryan, who ran on the Republican and independent “Sean Ryan for Saranac Lake” party lines, had a tally of 481 votes.

Democrat White, who ran on the Democratic and independent “Team Saranac Lake” party lines, had a tally of 477 votes.

Democrat Van Cott, who ran on the Democratic and independent “Team Saranac Lake” party lines, had a tally of 460 votes.

Independently affiliated Katie Stiles, who ran on the Republican and independent “Integrity for Saranac Lake” party lines, had a tally of 445 votes.

Balzac gathered 33 votes.

Trustees Rich Shapiro and Tom Catillaz – who did not run for reelection, leaving the two open seats – have their final scheduled board meeting on Monday. Their terms end at noon on April 1, and Ryan and White’s terms start then, according to village Clerk Amanda Hopf.

The village will also call for a public hearing on the budget it has been crafting on Monday. The agenda for the meeting puts this hearing on April 15 at 5:30 p.m.


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