Manlius Village Trustee Marc Baum formally asked the New York State Supreme Court on Friday to review the results of the March 15 village elections. He has hired Attorney Natalie Miner, also a trustee on the Manlius Village Board, to represent him.
Baum was defeated by incumbent trustee Harold Hopkinson, 236 to 235. One of the absentee votes, however, was cast by Arnold Ferguson, who died Feb. 25. He was candidate Nancy Pfeiffer's father. According to Onondaga County Board of Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggins, the board did not catch the ineligible ballot before the recanvass the next day. If it had, it would have been pulled, she said, but once ballots are taken out of the envelopes and shuffled, there is no way to know who voted for whom.
"We should have caught it," Kiggins said in an earlier interview. "I hate to see something like this [happen]."
Supreme Court Justice John C. Cherundolo of the Fifth Judicial District has been assigned to Baum's case. Cherundolo will review the election results and verify the process was completed correctly.
"The judge may say there is nothing wrong in the way the elections board handled the situation, however, when the Board of Elections and Commissioner Kiggins allowed a vote from a deceased person to be counted, they may have changed the outcome of an election," Baum said. "We are not talking about conjecture or hanging chads, we are talking about a vote that the BOE received three days after a person passed away."
Baum said he believes the situation could be remedied in one of two ways: either by throwing out the absentee ballots and recanvassing without them, or by ordering a two-way runoff election between the two candidates involved.
"No matter what the judge decides, I will accept the ruling and leave the process feeling that we have done all we can do," Baum said.
Baum has hired Attorney Natalie Miner to represent him. Miner is also a trustee on the Manlius Village Board. The court date is set for 10 a.m. Thursday April 7 at the Onondaga County Courthouse, 401 Montgomery St. in Syracuse.