Nov 06, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The expectedly close Fenner elections for town supervisor and two town board seats came out closer than most anticipated, with only nine votes separating the two candidates for supervisor and not even two dozen votes separating the four town council candidates. With 25 absentee ballots out, the unofficial outcome on Tuesday night could change next week when absentee ballots are counted.
The polling place in the Fenner town office was busy all day, with more than 50 percent of registered voters turning out to cast their ballots, according to polling place chair George Schmit. “It was incredible,” he said, adding that his polling place averaged 32 voters per hour from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a huge rush of people came in between 4:30 and 6 p.m.
When the polls closed, 526 votes had been cast in the voting machine out of 1,058 registered voters. Five affidavits and three absentee ballots also were turned in today. There are 25 total absentee ballots out for Fenner and 21 have already been received, according to the Madison County Board of Elections. The other four absentee voters have until Monday, Nov. 11 to return their ballots.
When the ballots were counted shortly after 9 p.m. tonight, current town Councilor David Jones, a Republican, received 259 votes in the race for supervisor, while his opponent, Carl Snow, of the Fenner Neighbor Party, received 250 votes.
In the race for two seats on the town board, the Republican candidates Bill Cody and Hannah Strack, both Republicans, had received the top vote counts with 267 and 255, respectively. The Fenner Neighbor Party candidates Cindy Gavula and Phil Rose received 247 and 245 votes, respectively. With such a slim margin of victory, the absentee ballots, depending on the number submitted, could change the outcomes.
“I’m not real comfortable at this point,” Jones said after reading the initial results in the town office.
“It’s much closer than I would’ve liked to see,” Strack agreed.
Current Fenner Supervisor Russ Carey, who chose not to run for reelection, had no comment on the vote counts, but did say the last election that was this close in town was probably in about 1998.
“It could turn really easily on absentee ballots – it’s that close,” said Rose from his home in Fenner, where he, Snow, Gavula and their supporters awaited the election results. “We’re very excited. It was a good campaign on both sides.”
“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” Gavula said. “For an off-year election … I’m ecstatic. I am a little disappointed we didn’t win. But I’m not ready to say we lost.”
“It’s a little disappointing, but it’s my first shot at politics and all in all we came pretty close,” said Snow. “I’m happy with the numbers, in part, and hopefully [the incumbents] will pay more attention now to questions from those of us in the peanut gallery.”
“Even if we lose we’ve won by the support we received and the momentum we’ve gained for our issues,” Rose said.
Snow, Rose and Gavula ran on a platform focused on banning hydrofracking in Fenner and improving citizen representation and elected official responsiveness on the town board. They received so much support for their outside party bid for office, that all three candidates praised and thanked their supporters. Gavula called the race “a real community effort” of which she is very proud.
All three Fenner Neighbor Party candidates said that no matter the outcome when the absentee ballots are officially counted by the county board of elections on Nov. 12, they will continue to stay involved in Fenner politics as citizens, attend town board meetings and ask questions. “I’m pretty sure [the incumbents] will have to be looking over their shoulders now,” Snow said.
In the uncontested races in Fenner, Town Clerk Joanne Buyea received 400 votes; town Highway Superintendent Frank Hyatt received 387 votes; and Tax Collector Sharon Larkin received 379 votes.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.