By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Democrat Ed Lentz of New Lisbon held onto the District 5 seat on the Otsego County Board of Representatives after absentee ballots were opened Wednesday, elections officials said.
And Republican Sean Farrell’s winning margin expanded in the race to be Oneonta Town justice, according to tallies released by the Otsego County Board of Elections in Cooperstown.
Absentee ballot counting began Wednesday, and officials completed counts for towns of Burlington, Butternuts, Cherry Valley, Decatur, Edmeston, Exeter, Hartwick, Laurens, Middlefield, Milford, Morris, New Lisbon, Oneonta and Otsego, plus several county districts.
The recanvass will continue today and will include the District 12 county board race between Republican Craig Gelbsman, who with 137 votes is ahead of Democrat Amy Hornburg-Heilveil at 132 votes, official said.
For District 12, which represents the Oneonta city’s Third and Fourth Wards, the Board of Elections received 13 absentee ballots. In the Third Ward, 20 absentee ballots were sent out and 10 were returned, officials said, and in the Fourth Ward, eight were sent and three were returned.
County-wide, of 1,089 absentee ballots sent out, 808 were returned, a statistics report from the elections board said.
Absentee ballots can make a difference in election results, Sheila Ross, Otsego County GOP elections commissioner, said Wednesday.
The Board of Elections reported no other changes in winners after the first day of the recanvass Wednesday.
On Nov. 5, Lentz bested Republican Jamie Waters of Milford with 751 to 707 votes. With 43 absentee ballots returned for Hartwick, 34 for Milford and 27 for New Lisbon, the results released Wednesday were Lentz with 791 to Waters at 766 votes, elections officials said.
The town of Oneonta had a three way race for justice, with Republican Bruce A. Smith wining the most votes — at 832 — on Election Day. Farrell had 728 votes, slightly ahead of Democrat Dawn Oliver, who captured 725.
The Board of Elections received 86 absentee ballots in the town of Oneonta, which boosted results in the justice race to 891 for Smith, 781 for Farrell and 769 for Oliver.
The Board of Elections officials said 86 absentee ballots were received from town of Oneonta voters.