Absentee ballots due when polls close
By Michael Turton
Nelsonville voters are about to go to the polls for a second time in less than two weeks. The vote, scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, is needed to break a tie between two first-time candidates who vied for one open trustee seat on the Nelsonville Village Board as part of the March 18 election.
Thomas Robertson and Danielle Pack McCarthy both received 90 votes — including two absentee ballots that were also split. Poll workers counted the ballots three times before confirming the tie. “I don’t think this has ever happened in Nelsonville before,” Village Clerk Pauline Minners said.
Voting on March 31 will again be conducted at 258 Main St. in Nelsonville, in the council chambers adjacent to the Village Hall. Polls will be open from noon until 9 p.m.
Minners told The Paper that absentee ballots delivered in person must be received by the time polls close. Unlike the first election, absentee ballots that are mailed must be received no later than Election Day, not simply postmarked that day. No grace period for mail delivery applies for the second vote because the election results must be certified by 9 a.m. April 1.
Two options were available to break the tie — drawing lots or a second election. Both candidates had to agree to draw lots, otherwise under New York State election law, a second election is required. That meant that when Robertson opted for drawing lots the choice rested with Pack McCarthy.
After debating her decision for a several hours during an out-of-town trip, she opted for a second vote. “I don’t want this decided by chance,” she said in a telephone interview. “The real story here is how people came out to the polls to vote. It wouldn’t be right to decide it by chance.”
The mayor’s race on March 18 produced no such drama as incumbent Tom Corless ran unopposed, collecting 131 votes. Even that race had a twist, however, with a last minute write-in candidate, Dave Moroney, receiving 35 votes.