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Ulster officials looking to change election recount rule

May 05, 2020 12:30 pm
Patrica Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman a proposal to amend an Ulster County law to require that ballot recounts in close elections happen only if a recount is requested by a candidate came under fire this past week from Legislator John Parete. Parete, a former county elections commissioner, said the obligation to guarantee a correct vote tally should not rest with the people running for office. "I'm just flabbergasted about why we would even be considering something like this," he said. Under the existing law, a manual hand count of all ballots is required if an election is decided by half a percentage point or less of ballots cast, unless the trailing candidate waives the recount. The pending amendment would allow a vote tally to stand regardless of how close the results are unless the trailing candidate requests a recount in writing within five days of the election. The measure also would require the recount to be completed by Jan. 1, when the winner's term would begin. The half-percentage point recount provision was triggered in the 2019 Ulster County district attorney election between Republican Michael J. Kavanagh and Democrat David Clegg. That manual recount began on December 19 and ended on January 9, eight days after the beginning of the new term. Clegg defeated Kavanagh by 77 votes. The Legislature will hold a public hearing on the proposed change on May 12. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.