At least 3,000 outstanding votes remain uncounted at the Board of Elections today, and it could be several days before their tabulation will determine several still to be decided Democratic primary election contests throughout Erie County.
Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward said early this morning that 2,416 absentee ballots are yet to be counted throughout the county, along with hundreds of affidavit votes and a handful of others that were not scanned by voting machines. They will serve as the ultimate deciding factors in the still close Democratic race for sheriff and two contests for County Legislature.
“We’ll start counting in the morning, but it could be late next week before we know for sure,” Ward said about some still close contests.
The big race that could still be affected by outstanding ballots is sheriff, where challenger Richard E. Dobson was leading endorsed candidate Bert D. Dunn 18,121 to 17,429 (51 percent to 49 percent) with 99 percent of the machine vote counted. Dobson late Tuesday declared victory, but Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner was nowhere near ready to concede for Dunn early this morning.
“It’s still too close at this point,” he said. “It’s awfully tight for a countywide race.”
In the County Legislature, challenger Barbara Miller-Williams was holding a razor thin edge over incumbent Timothy R. Hogues, 3,588 to 3,568. But 418 absentee ballots remain to be counted, leaving that race very much undecided this morning.
That gave Zellner and his headquarters organization some reason for optimism.
“We worked the absentees very hard,” he said. “I’m pretty confident.”
Another close race is centered in District 7, which normally is concentrated in Cheektowaga but now may carry a South Buffalo flavor after Patrick B. Burke rode the mayoral turnout wave in the city to post a 1,627 to 1,552 lead over Lynn M. Dearmyer (38 percent to 36 percent), while Richard A. Zydel posted 1,117 (26 percent) with 35 of 36 districts reporting.
But 279 absentee ballots have yet to be counted in the district, and no official victor has yet to be declared.
Ward said he expected the official Board of Elections website to be fully corrected by mid-morning to late morning, which could also alter some of the especially close races.
“That’s when we will have all the election districts in the county, and we could see a shift,” he said.