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Recount set today in mayoral race

A recount of ballots cast in Tuesday's Village of Williamsville election will be conducted today, likely deciding whether Mayor Mary E. Lowther will hang on to her six-vote victory.

Her opponent in the race, Trustee Brian J. Geary, asked for a recount after the final tally showed him with 382 votes to the 388 votes cast for Lowther.

He cited both the closeness of the race and what he said were an "abnormally high" number of absentee ballots cast -- about 59 -- as the reason.

"That's what really alarmed me," Geary said.

He said he was particularly surprised by the number of absentee ballots cast because so many of the village's elderly residents -- those most likely to use absentee ballots -- were brought to the polls by bus, courtesy the Vision Party.

"It just makes you wonder," Geary said.

The Erie County Board of Elections will be in charge of the recount, as required by state law.

It starts at 3 p.m. and should be finished in about an hour, said County Democratic Elections Commission Dennis Ward.

Tuesday's election pitted the fledgling Vision Party against the more established Harmony Party and, aside from the mayoral race, included four candidates vying for two seats on the five-member board.

The winners were Jeffrey Lloyd Kingsley, an attorney and political newcomer, who received 392 votes on the Harmony Party line; and Brian Kulpa, a Vision Party member and political newcomer, who received just one vote less than Kingsley, or 391 votes.

Defeated were Trustee Richard Sweeney, a Vision Party member who received 373 votes and Harmony Party contender David Lipinoga, a paralegal new to village politics, who received 369 votes.

Village Justice Jeffrey Voelkl, who ran with the endorsement of both parties, had 679 votes. Victoria D'Angelo received one vote.

Regardless of whether Lowther wins, the election switched control of the board to the Harmony Party -- four years after it was booted from power by voters who swept in the Vision Party.

Geary, who retains his seat as a trustee, and Kingsley now join Trustee Basil Piazza, a Harmony Party member, as the three-vote majority.

e-mail: ncervantes@buffnews.com

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