ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It was as unusual as a primary season as ever before, culminating in an Election Day where no local races were decided.
The reason? The influx of absentee ballots that won’t begin to be counted locally until July 1. Usually absentee ballots account for such a small percentage of the voter pool that they rarely make a difference in an election, but this year was obviously different.
An executive order in April by Gov. Andrew Cuomo made all New York state voters eligible for absentee ballots, due to the pandemic, and many Monroe County residents mailed in absentee ballots — more than 77,000 of them according to the local Board of Elections.
In contrast, the Monroe County Board of elections reports only 5,261 absentee ballots were counted for both the presidential and local primaries in 2016.
That influx of mailed-in votes is what is preventing local races from being decided in the short term.
The local Board of Elections says 4,018 Monroe County residents participated in early voting, which was the highest of any Upstate New York county. Additionally, officials say that 27,541 Monroe County residents cast their ballots at polling sites Tuesday.
That combined number of votes, 31,559, is still far smaller than the number of absentee ballots which were mailed in. While those results have been counted, the fate of many local candidates won’t be decided until early July.