Computer error is being blamed for a mix-up in the outcome of the Republican primary for Chautauqua County district attorney Tuesday.
The Board of Elections' posted returns on its Website showed challenger Neil Robinson defeating interim District Attorney David Foley, when in fact the outcome was the other way around.
After the polls closed at 9 p.m., results began to pour into the Board of Elections in Mayville, and they were quickly posted on the board's Website at www.votechautauqua.com.
At first, the Website showed Foley, a Fredonia attorney, with a small lead over attorney Robinson of Bemus Point.
About 9:30, problems started to arise, according to Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green.
"I don't expect the world to understand this, but it was what's called a Web mapping issue. We knew exactly what the results were here, but the Internet was not reporting those results correctly. It was like an Englishman talking to a Spaniard, it wasn't being understood."
Green says they were on top of the situation in Mayville, but couldn't change what was being viewed by many on the Website.
Many people, including Robinson and Foley, were watching the results live on the Internet and were shocked to see the results.
Many Foley supporters began to call the Board of Elections around 9:45 when the Website reported Robinson in the lead.
Officials in Mayville soon realized they had to shut the system down. Between 10 and 11 p.m. a news release was faxed to the local media that read, "Due to first-time technical issues, the votechautauqua.com Website did not accurately depict election district detail from the Primary Election. The correct unofficial results are now displayed on the Website."
Robinson said, "I sort of feel like Thomas Dewey. I'd like to congratulate David and thank everyone who supported me."
Robinson, a former district attorney, will be on the November ballot as the Independence Party candidate.
The corrected results showed Foley with 2,950 votes to 2,031 for Robinson.
Foley, an assistant DA, was appointed to the post in July by Gov. George E. Pataki.
The Democratic candidate is attorney Ken Lasker of Jamestown.