Error in Sherburne, race too close to call in Otselic, new supervisors for Guilford, Coventry

Operator error leaves Sherburne races uncounted for now

SHERBURNE – It wasn’t a computer glitch, but an operator error, that prevented Chenango County Board of Elections officials from tallying votes from two of the three districts in the Town of Sherburne.

Republic Board of Elections Commissioner Harriet Jenkins said that the problem was being investigated this morning, but no vote counts were available by press time.

The voting inspectors shut down and locked up the voting machines before getting all three district’s tapes out, Jenkins said, and proceeded to seal the bag with the one district’s results before realizing they didn’t have all of them.

With one district reporting, Charles A. Mastro has tallied the most votes for one of two open seats on the town’s council. Fellow Republican and political newcomer Edwin T. Meyer has the votes, unofficially for the moment, for the second seat.

Races too close to call in Otselic

OTSELIC – The absentee ballot count in seven days will determine the winner of last night’s race for supervisor in the Town of Otselic, as both candidates woke up this morning with only one vote separating them.

Four-term Otselic Councilman Stanley E. Davis, a Republican, said this morning he was surprised the count was so close. Running on the Republican line, Davis earned 161 votes to incumbent Democrat David J. Messineo’s combination Democrat and independent line tally of 160.

Messineo, who was defending his three-term supervisor’s seat, could not be reached for comment this morning.

Davis said he wouldn’t be surprised if the absentee votes would ultimately swing in Messineo’s favor. “He went out to beat the bushes to get the voters out. I was surprised that it was so close,” he said.

The race for town clerk will also come down to a tally of absentee ballots, with Nika M. Cole, Democrat, and Republican Virginia “Ginnie” MacFarland in a tie with each earning 156 votes.

Though no races are completely official until after the absentee vote count, the two positions on the town council were easily won by Republican newcomer Charles B.J. Bishop, with 217 votes, and incumbent Herbert Neal with 202.

Bays retains Smyrna supervisor seat

SMYRNA – James B. Bays once again earned more votes yesterday than his oft challenger Gerard Parry, Sr. Both have served their small town’s populace as supervisor in past years, but Bays has come out on top again with 202 votes versus Parry’s 119.

“I’m very pleased and proud to serve in this capacity. As we move forward, we’ve got a lot on the agenda. Staying on top of this natural gas thing and work on town hall and our highway department. Those are important issues in front of us,” said Bays.

It will come down to absentee votes to determine the winner of one of two seats that were open on the Smyrna Town Council. Democrat Mark E. Swayze won one of the seats with a vote of 168, but Republican Robert L. Matteson’s 156 and Democratic Incumbent Daniel R. Whitehead’s 155 votes may be too close to call.

Pharsalia picks councilmen

PHARSALIA – In the Town of Pharsalia, incumbent councilman Arthur L. Grover, a Democrat, had the most votes, 82, for one of two open seats. Former Highway Superintendent Clayton Alger, a Republican won the other seat with 60.

Political newcomer Thomas M. Slate, a Democrat, earned more votes for highway superintendent than did candidate Michael E. Murray.

Plymouth reduces town justice positions

PLYMOUTH – In Plymouth, voters agreed to reduce the number of town justices from two to one.

Highway Superintendent Peter D. Marshall, a Republican, retained his seat with 146 votes versus his challenger, Democratic newcomer, Thomas Cohen’s, 50.

Seneck wins Guilford supervisor race

GUILFORD – Republican Councilman George J. Seneck was successful in his bid for town supervisor, prevailing over opponent Dennis E. Martin, who ran on an Independent line entitled, “Justice,” by a count of 320 votes to 159.

“I was very pleased with the outcome of the election,” said Seneck, early Wednesday morning, referring not only to his own victory but to that of Councilman Thomas Ives, who received 315 votes to secure his seat for another term.

With 37 absentee ballots yet to be counted, the race for the second council spot remains too close to call, according to Seneck. A margin of only 10 votes currently separates Democrat Dolores “Dee” L. Fuller, who received 222 votes, and Republican Russell J. Heath, who received 212.

The council race’s other two candidates, Democrat Richard Mackey and Independent Celeste Aber, received 115 and 80 votes, respectively.

Regardless of who fills the remaining seat, Seneck said, “we have our work cut out for us.”

Some of his immediate goals for when he takes office include getting “a better handle” on the town’s budget, and doing proactive planning regarding alternative energies, equipment replacement and usage of property owned by the town. Improving communication with the community and helping to educate town residents on the budget process will also be priorities, he said.

Martin said he found the outcome of the election “somewhat” disappointing. “You’re bound to be ... when you work hard at something (and) it doesn’t come to fruition,” he explained.

But despite the fact that he was unsuccessful in his bid for the town’s top position, he still found something to be happy with.

“We had a very large voter turnout, and I was very pleased to see that,” said Martin. The former justice said he is unsure at present whether or not he will make a future run for any town office.

Phelan’s back in Coventry’s top spot

COVENTRY – In a three-way race for the town’s top job, Republican John M. Phelan Sr. received 316 votes over Incumbent Supervisor Janice A. O’Shea’s 179. Larry G. Clark, running as an Independent, received 64 votes.

“Naturally, I’m disappointed,” said O’Shea, who thanked all of the voters who came out to the polls on Election Day. She estimated that roughly 60 percent of the registered voters in Coventry had cast ballots.

Despite the outcome of the election, O’Shea will not be leaving her office with any regrets. “I can look back on my six years with a great deal of pride,” she said.

“I would hope the new people joining the board in January will continue to work for the good of the entire community,” she concluded.

For town council, newcomers Robert E. Boudreau and George Broeg, both Republicans, beat out Incumbents Phyllis S. Lerwick and John B. Sanford. Boudreau and Broeg received 320 and 198 votes respectively, while 176 ballots were cast for Lerwick and 198 for Sanford. Conservative candidate Patricia D. Fiske received 107 votes.

In the race for Superintendent of Highways, Richard M. Granger, Jr., who was endorsed by both the town’s Democratic and Republican committees, received 331 votes to his opponent’s, Rodney S. Bolster’s, 203.

Phelan could not be reached for comment before press time.

Johnson appears to retain Smithville seat

SMITHVILLE – Unofficial results put Smithville’s Republican Supervisor, Allan I. Johnson ahead of his Democratic opponent, political newcomer Daniel W. Hayes by a count of 156 votes to 127.

“I’m very happy to win,” said Johnson, for whom the victory signifies his fourth term in office. The incumbent said his first six years on the board was filled with a lot of good experiences, and he was looking forward to more.

Hayes, however, is not ready to concede the election to the incumbent.

With 29 votes separating the two, and the same number of absentee ballots outstanding, he says it may be too close to call at this point. According to Harriet Jenkins, a commissioner with the Chenango County Board of Elections, 29 Smithville residents applied for absentee ballots, only 21 of which have been received by press time on Wednesday.

“There is a seven day window,” she explained, for the remaining ballots to be received.

In a five-way race for two 4-year terms on Smithville’s town council, Republican Charles J. Shultes secured a seat on the board with 162 votes. Democrat Elizabeth A. Vanderweyde and Republican Victor H. Hammond received the next highest votes, with 118 and 103 respectively. With a number of absentee ballots yet to be counted, this may still be to close to call.

Candidate John J. Cammarata, who ran on an Independent line entitled “Farmland,” received 80 votes, and 77 were cast for Democrat Michael W. Huff.

In a race for a third two-year term to fill a vacancy, Incumbent Holly A. Mohr, who ran on the Independent line “Another Choice,” received 176 votes over her opponent’s, Barbara Ann L. Whitmore’s 53.

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