Updated 09/18/2012 07:17 PM
Counting of absentee ballots to begin Thursday in McDonald vs. Marchione
We're one step closer to finding out who will win the Republican Primary for the 43rd Senate District seat. Absentee ballots will be counted starting later this week in the too close to call race between incumbent Roy McDonald and Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione. Our Megan Cruz has the details.
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BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- "We did an aggressive absentee ballot campaign and we're optimistic that we can overcome our current deficit," said Jeff Buley, attorney for incumbent Roy McDonald.
McDonald trails challenger Kathy Marchione, but not by much: Just 122 votes. McDonald's camp maintains absentee ballots will tip the scales, while representatives for Marchione say her lead will hold.
"We think that the absentee voters generally are more conservative, so that we have reason to believe they'll go our way," said Michael Cuevas, Marchione's attorney.
Well, it'll take at least a week to see who's right since counting of the close to 1,000 absentee ballots isn't scheduled to begin until Thursday. That's for the ballots in Rensselaer and Washington counties. For Saratoga and Columbia counties, the Board of Elections offices there will begin counting Monday.
These dates were agreed upon Tuesday by all parties involved, then formally accepted by Saratoga County Supreme Court Justice Robert Chauvin.
Representatives for both Marchione and McDonald will be at each count.
"First we look at the envelopes verifying that all the voters are eligible to vote. Then once we've done that, the ballots are opened and we review the ballots to make sure the voter has properly executed a vote," said Buley.
The two attorneys say it’s hard to say when a winner will be announced.
"We would hope that would be as soon as possible," said Cuevas.
"The closer it is, the more time it will take," said Buley.
If a judge will have to hear arguments on questionable ballots, that will further delay the process. But Justice Chauvin will not be on the bench for this, since after signing the ballot schedule, he recused himself. This was at the request of McDonald's attorney, who pointed out that Chauvin was the Halfmoon town attorney while Marchione was the town supervisor.
"I think the judge made it clear it wasn't a personal relationship," said Cuevas.
"I'm not going to comment on the judge's recusal," said Buley. "I think the motion stands for itself."
Regardless of who wins this primary, both will appear on November's ballot: Marchione on the Conservative line, McDonald for the Independence Party.