Updated 09/26/2012 05:47 PM
Judge Hears Both Sides in Deadlocked Livingston County GOP Race
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Eric Schiener and Steve Sessler went before State Supreme Court Justice John Ark to argue their case for victory.
Both candidates have 1,879 votes with seven absentee ballots hanging in the balance. One of those ballots was returned with a postmark past the accepted date, while two others were submitted in unsealed envelopes and the others have inconsistant markings.
Following court, Schiener revealed he had just learned there was an undercount in an Avon district that may swing the election in his favor.
"We were informed that although in that district it was put down as five votes for me out of the absentees, it was in fact six, so actually, after the absentee ballots have been counted, I would have been leading by one vote, Schiener said.
Meanwhile, Sessler argues the ballot with the late postmark and the two in unsealed envelopes and have yet to be opened should be thrown out. Instead, he wants those with inconsistant markings, including one where a vote for Schiener was whited out and changed to a vote for him, allowed to be counted. In court, Sessler went over each of those ballots with a fine tooth comb.
"It was necessary to do that because that is how ballots are to be interpreted persuant to the regulations issued by the New York State Board of Elections. So all we're asking is that the judge apply those regulations to the markings on the ballots which are contested and issue a ruling," Sessler said.
Both candidates agree that no matter how this race turns out, it's the perfect example as to why people should get out and vote. Schiener calls this the best civics lesson any student could ask for.
"I'm hoping every that every teacher in this communty is using this as a lesson plan stressing the importance of voting, on getting out to vote, voting absentee if you're not able to be there on Election Day, all those things. This is an important lesson for everyone of us."
Judge Ark said he will make his ruling soon, perhaps within 24 hours.
If the race remains deadlocked, the decision falls to the Livingston County Republican Committee where Schiener says 90 percent of its members back his candidacy.