“We’re finishing Rosendale, Saugerties was done early because of the close races there…” said Ashley Dittus, Democratic commissioner of elections here in Ulster County, about the hand recount of all the ballots cast in the 2019 election for County district attorney. The initial counts, finished December 11 after a prolonged period of wrangling over absentee and challenged ballots, had Democrat Dave Clegg the winner by a mere 79 votes out of more than 52,500 cast, over Republican Mike Kavanagh. The Ulster County Charter calls for a recount if the total margin between the candidates is less than two-tenths of one percent, though had Kavanagh conceded, the recount would not have had to take place.
As of Monday afternoon, December 30, not including Rosendale, board of elections personnel had completely counted 31,909 of the election day ballots. “That leaves 11,776 for election day machines, plus the early voting, another 7433…that’s all the voting system ballots.” The rest are paper ballots — absentees and challenged votes, which will be counted again, though they were scrutinized carefully by both sides in the original tally.
Dittus says nothing much has changed in the counting thus far.
“There’s one (vote) pickup for Dave. There’s a few they’ve challenged for stray marks, or where they made squiggles, so we’ll count two for Kavanagh.”
And she opines, “Things might change slightly, but it’s not going to get through to 80 votes.”
She speculated on a timetable. “We’re closed on Wednesday [New Year’s Day] but everyone is here Tuesday and Thursday. We’re going at a pretty good pace now, there are no issues. I think well be done sometime next week.”
And that will be the end of it…unless someone files a lawsuit…