Counting begins: Balance of power in Monroe County Legislature comes down to absentees

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Nearly two weeks removed from Election Day and we still don’t know which party will control the Monroe County Legislature.

It appears that the party that assumes the majority will all come down to three races and a whole lot of absentee ballots.

The magic number in the Monroe County Legislature for a majority is 15 because there are 29 seats. Republicans went into Election Day with the 15-seat majority, but right now it’s unclear which party will claim it going forward.

That’s because there are still three races that aren’t decided, and will only be called after absentee ballots are counted. The absentee counting process began Monday.

However, Tuesday unveiled some key information that’s giving Democrats hope, even though the party needs to win all three of the uncalled races to win the majority. That hopeful information is as follows:

  1. There are enough absentee ballots out there to potentially add to a Democratic lead in one race and overcome a deficit in two others.
  2. While we don’t know who voted for who among the absentee ballots, we do know their party affiliation and there are a lot more Democrats than Republicans — four to one in two races, and five to one in another.
  3. When you take those ratios and the number of absentee ballots, then consider the razor-thin margins in those three races, it’s entire possible for the Democrats to score a political hat trick.

Or the Republicans could overcome projectinos among absentee voters in one or two races and stay in power.

In response to all this, officials from the Monroe County Republican Committee told News 8 in a statement:

“Now that the elections are over, we must ensure that ever legal ballot is counted. It is our constitutional duty to uphold the rights of voters and to oversee fair elections.”

A statement from the Monroe County Democratic Committee last week echoed that sentiment.

“This election isn’t over until every vote is counted, including those cast by voters who chose to exercise their legal right to vote by absentee ballot,” said Zach King, Monroe County Democratic Committee (MCDC) Chair. “There is a process in place under New York State Election Law for both the absentee count and the mandatory recount for close races, and we have to be patient until these counts are completed. It is too early to call any of these races.” 

The three uncalled races are as follows:

  • LD13 (Henrietta): Matt Borkowski (R) vs. Michael Yudelson (D) — Borkowski leads Yudelson by 158 votes. Of the 462 absentee ballots in this district, 309 are from registered Democrats, 82 from Republicans, 2 from Working Families Party, and 57 with no party affiliation
  • LD 16 (Irondequoit): Dave Long (D) vs. Joe Carbone (R) — Long leads Carbone by 47 votes. Of the 289 absentees in this district, 204 are Democrats, 43 Republicans, 4 Conservatives, and 27 no party affiliation.
  • LD 26 (Gates, Greece, Rochester): Orlando Rivera (R) vs. Yversha Roman (D) — Rivera leads Roman by 78 votes. Of the 209 absentees, 155 are Democrats, 33 Republicans, 3 Conservatives, and 16 were blank.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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