Absentee ballot counting begins in Broome County

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BINGHAMTON, NY – The Broome County Board of Elections began the process of opening and counting an unprecedented number of absentee ballots today as several key races hang in the balance.

In all, about 21,000 paper ballots are being canvassed, 19,500 mail-in and about 1,500 provisional ballots given to people whose names were not on the voter rolls at the polls.

The board moved its operation from the County Office Building to the Jeffrey P Kraham Public Library’s Decker Room so that it would have more space for social distancing.

Plexiglass was installed and staff and campaign observers alike wore masks.

Among the high-profile races that could be affected by the outcome are the 22nd Congressional District and Broome County Family Court Judge.

Democratic Commissioner Dan Reynolds says ballots from the Town of Union and Villages of Johnson City and Endicott were opened first as there are several close municipal races from those areas.

“We’ve got a huge volume in there. We’ve never had to deal with 20,000 paper ballots. The envelopes have all been examined in advance,” says Reynolds.

Reynolds says scanning equipment is on site to count the qualified ballots.

Republican candidate for Family Court Judge Steve Cornwell planned to observe the counting all day today.

Following election night, he lead Democrat Hollie Levine by 5,200 votes but twice as many absentee ballots were sent to Democrats as went to Republicans.

This is Cornwell’s third time going through the process, first when he became District Attorney in 2015 and again during this year’s primary.

He’s eager for the process to be complete but supports how it’s being handled.

“They’ve done a phenomenal job. The integrity of this vote is impeccable. Whether it comes out in my favor or not, we’ll see, but the process you can trust and believe in here in Broome County. They do a superb job,” says Cornwell.

If all goes well, the counting could be completed by the end of the day tomorrow.

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