CHENANGO COUNTY – On Tuesday Chenango County election officials were conducting a routine check when they discovered 55 ballots that had not been counted during the election.
Republican Party Commissioner Mary Lou Monahan said the ballots were found in secure drawers, where they were supposed to be kept during the election. She said a portion of the ballots from the first nine days of early voting had been missed and left behind in the drawers by mistake.
“I want to assure voters the integrity in that office is not compromised in any way, shape or form,” she said Thursday.
“We were going through registrations from the poll sites, and one of the early voting drawers- we have 31 drawers for the districts and and we have nine drawers for the days of early voting,” said Monahan. That is when officials found the 55 ballots in the locked early voting drawers.
Compounding the error, the discovery comes in the middle of a closely contested election in the 22nd Congressional District, where about a dozen votes out of more than 300,000 ballots separate the two main candidates: Claudia Tenney, the district's former congresswoman and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and the current incumbent, Congressman Anthony Brindisi, a moderate Democrat.
Chenango County Attorney Alan Gordon said he was notified Tuesday and immediately told election officials to secure the ballots as he informed the presiding judge, Oswego County Judge Scott J. DelConte, about the situation and asked what they should to do.
“I got a call from the board of elections saying they had found 55 early voting ballots that had been put aside and forgot about. Early voting I believe, with affidavit ballots to check later and they had forgot about them,” he said.
“As soon as they informed me I sent a letter to the judge asking 'What should we do?' 'How do we open the sealed ballots?'”
“It's important for people to know that these 55 ballots are among 2,000 others with objections on them before the court,” Gordon explained.
He said the approximate 2,000 other ballots represented all those challenged in the election between Brindisi and Tenney from the entire congressional district and all the other counties.