Updated 09/20/2012 06:23 PM
Washington, Rensselaer counties counting absentee ballots for 43rd District primary
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TROY, N.Y. --Earlier this week, a judge in Saratoga County set a schedule to begin counting the absentee ballots in the 43rd Senate District Republican primary, where challenger Kathy Marchione maintains a razor thin lead over Senator Roy McDonald. Thursday, that counting began in Rensselaer and Washington counties.
"It's a good election in that sense that there were good choices, where oftentimes, voters don't have those choices, but in this sense, they did," said John Sweeney, campaign attorney for Marchione.
When voters went to the polls last Thursday, they had two choices in the 43rd Senate District Republican primary: Senator Roy McDonald and his challenger, Kathy Marchione. After the ballots were counted that night, Marchione's 122 vote lead was far too slim to declare her a winner. One week and one court appearance later, absentee ballots are now determining the outcome of the race.
On Thursday morning, attorneys from both campaigns met at the Rensselaer County Courthouse to begin counting the county's more than 320 absentee ballots. On election night, Marchione defeated the Troy native McDonald by more than 200 votes. One day prior, McDonald picked up 16 votes in the Saratoga County recanvasing, but as the hours long process moved forward, the lead seesawed back and forth.
"Look, everything is possible. At the end of the day, I do anticipate picking up more votes in Rensselaer," McDonald campaign attorney Jeffrey Buley said.
Sweeney said, "As we continue to count here in Rensselaer County, it appears it's trending our way, which we were, frankly, going to be happy with a break even. The fact it's trending our way is even better."
When the final Rensselaer County ballot was counted, Marchione boosted her lead by just three votes. To the north in Washington County where ballots were also counted Thursday, her margin increased by just one, giving her an overall advantage of 110.
With absentee ballots from Saratoga and Columbia counties yet to be counted, McDonald is running out of time to make up ground.
Buley said, "We recanvased and picked up about 20 votes in Saratoga County, so I believe that with all these changes, the number is now down to about 100, which is quite reachable."
"Every vote counts, but once the field begins to shrink, then it's a question of mathematics and how to make up that deficit he comes into the process with because of election night," Sweeney said.
On Monday, the race's remaining 650 or so absentee ballots will be counted when the board of elections and the two candidates attorneys meet in Saratoga and Columbia counties.