Three candidates. A four-vote difference. For one position.
That's what it came down to Monday after the count of absentee ballots for the Town Board election in Sardinia.
Norm Uhteg, a Democrat, held on comfortably as the top vote-getter among candidates for two Town Board seats, but his running mate, Charles Tobin Sr., was not as fortunate, losing to incumbent Ann Bean.
It was the third straight year that a Sardinia seat has come down to the absentee count, and the second time in three years a Democratic candidate went into the absentee ballot count with a lead and emerged as the loser.
This time it was Tobin who led Republicans Bean and Dan Miller by 31 and 33 votes, respectively. But when the absentees and affidavit (contested) votes were counted, Bean had 532 votes, Miller 529 and Tobin 528.
Thus, Uhteg, with 552, and Bean won the two four-year terms.
History had seemed to be repeating itself. Two years ago, Democrat Robert Kaiser went into the absentee count with a three-vote edge, only to be passed by Republican Heather Phelps.
Last year, Kaiser trailed Republican Matt Mumbach by six votes going into the absentee count and still trailed by six when the vote was completed.
Sardinia Republican Chairman John Marsh said Monday's count "was very tense. [The Democrats] tried challenging a lot of the votes, the people that were registered.
"They were told the time to challenge registered voters was long past, and they couldn't challenge these people."
Marsh said that once Board of Elections has approved an absentee ballot and sent out the voting form, the person's registration can no longer be challenged. The validity of a signature can be, however.