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Cape Vincent Democrats drop ballot challenge

Democrats have dropped their state Supreme Court challenge to the absentee ballots in the hotly contested races for Cape Vincent’s town offices.

That means the Jefferson County Board of Elections is allowed to resume its recanvassing of the ballots on Monday.

According to county Democratic Election Commissioner Babette Hall, there are 90 unopened ballots and 11 opened ballots which will be counted.

Hall said she expects there will be an audience watching as elections officials recanvass the votes on Monday.

She also said she anticipates there will be possible challenges, but hoped to have final results in all of the Cape Vincent town races by Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, state Supreme Court Judge James McClusky ordered the Board of Elections to preserve 99 absentee votes and make rulings on each one.

The order was in response to a legal challenge filed by three Democratic candidates:

 – town supervisor candidate Alan Wood
 – town council candidate Dennis Pearson
 – town council candidate Paul Aubertine

The challenge was filed against the Board of Elections as well as the Republican candidate for town supervisor, Urban Hirschey, and GOP town council candidates Brooks Bragdon and Michelle Oswald.

The absentee ballots are critical to the outcome of the race because many of them could be from seasonal residents who are likely to favor Republican candidates because of their opposition to wind power.

On election night, Wood was leading Hirschey 501 to 426.

For the town council, the results were as follows:

 – Paul Aubertine 542
 – Brooks Bragdon 406
 – Dennis Pearson 497
 – Michelle Oswald 386 

There were more than 300 absentee ballots to count on election night.

See news release from Cape Vincent Democrats