At least 3,000 votes remain uncounted at the Erie County Board of Elections today, and it could be several days before their tabulation will determine the results of three Democratic primary elections in the county.
Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward said Wednesday that 2,416 absentee ballots are yet to be counted throughout the county, along with hundreds of affidavit votes and a handful of others that were not scanned by voting machines. They will serve as the deciding factors in the close Democratic race for sheriff and two contests for the County Legislature.
“We’ll start counting [Wednesday], but it could be late next week before we know for sure,” Ward said about the close contests.
The biggest race that could still be affected by outstanding ballots is sheriff, where challenger Richard E. Dobson was leading endorsed candidate Bert D. Dunn, 18,121 to 17,429, or 51 percent to 49 percent, with 99 percent of the machine vote counted. Dobson late Tuesday declared victory, but Dunn has not yet conceded the race.
In the Legislature, challenger Barbara Miller-Williams was holding a razor-thin edge in District 1 over incumbent Timothy R. Hogues, 3,588 to 3,568. But 418 absentee ballots remain to be counted, leaving that race very much undecided.
That gave County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner and his headquarters organization some reason for optimism about Hogues’ chances. “We worked the absentees very hard,” he said. “I’m pretty confident.”
Another close race is in District 7, which normally is concentrated in Cheektowaga but now may carry a South Buffalo flavor after Patrick B. Burke rode to a lead of 1,627 to 1,552 over Lynn M. Dearmyer, or 38 percent to 36 percent, while Richard A. Zydel posted 1,117, or 26 percent, with 35 of 36 precincts reporting. But 279 absentee ballots have yet to be counted in the district, and no winner has been declared.