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Board finishes its count of close races

The 2007 election season is over for everyone except the people at the Erie County Board of Elections, who are doing the final tally of absentee ballots.

And even they say they have finished counting all the races where there appeared to be a mathematical possibility of the election night results changing.

Most of the results didn't change.

Bob Anderson -- who led in his race after Election Day's machine count -- has been declared the winner in the Amherst race for highway superintendent. Town Board races in Hamburg and Boston wound up with the same finish order.

The only change was in Sardinia, where a Town Board result was reversed when the absentee ballots were counted -- with incumbent Republican Ann Bean reclaiming her seat from Democratic challenger Charles Tobin Sr.

Election Commissioner Ralph Mohr confirmed Friday that Anderson, a Republican, had won in Amherst, although the final tally wasn't available in Anderson's race against Democrat Kathy Kaminski.

The results did highlight the difference between those posted on the Board of Elections Web site and the official numbers.

The Web results showed Anderson leading Kaminski by 393 votes out of 30,131 cast, but Anderson said he actually wound up with an 888-vote lead by the time the machine votes were finalized. That was before the approximately 1,300 absentee votes were counted.

Anderson said he has yet to receive the final results, although the absentee count was conducted Wednesday.

"They haven't got hold of me with the finals yet," said Anderson. "I'd like to hear it officially."

In Hamburg, Republican newcomer Kevin Smardz held on to oust Democratic political veteran Dick Smith from the Town Board, claiming a 353-vote victory after absentee votes were counted. In the final tally, Conservative Tom Best Sr. led the race for two positions with 9,877 votes, the 31-year-old Smardz had 8,013, former Assemblyman Smith had 7,660 and Democrat Vincent Gugliuzza 6,167.

With Best -- who ran with Republican support -- and Smardz on the board, Republican Town Supervisor Steven Walters will now have majority support to work with for the first time.

The apparent victors didn't go to last Monday's Town Board meeting because the results weren't final, said town Republican chairman Mark Cuda.

In Boston, the Democrats completed their takeover of the Town Board with the election of Cathy Maghran and James Pluta. All of the Town Board members have been elected with Democratic support, although Pluta is a registered Republican.

The final tally showed Maghran with 1,540 votes; Pluta 1,364; incumbent Republican Dennis Mead 1,326; and Republican Edward Piazza 1,323.

Sardinia was the lone town to have a race turn around, something that has become common there over the past three years. After the absentee votes were counted, Democrat Norm Uhteg and Republican Bean were winners, with Republican Dan Miller and Democrat Tobin trailing.

The turnabout -- a four-vote difference -- prevented the Republicans from losing control of the Town Board. Miller had 532 votes, Miller 529 and Tobin 528.


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