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Paper votes leave winners unchanged

Candidates leading in close races in North Tonawanda, Cambria and Porter nailed down victories Friday in absentee ballot counts at the Niagara County Board of Elections.

Linda M. DiPasquale, a Democrat, made no gains in her uphill battle for Family Court judge against John F. Batt, the Republican incumbent who actually extended his lead slightly.

In the District 4 coroner's race, Robert W. DuBois, a Wheatfield Democrat, was holding most of his lead over Russell Jackman II, the incumbent Wilson Republican.

Tallies of paper ballots by The Buffalo News and attorneys observing the counts showed that Catherine G. Schwandt, a Republican seeking re-election in North Tonawanda as alderwoman at Large, defeated Arthur G. Pappas, the Democratic nominee.

Schwandt received 119 absentee votes to 114 for Pappas, making the overall total in the race 3,305 for Schwandt, 3,233 for Pappas. A handful of disputed ballots will not be opened until next week, but will not change the outcome.

Joseph Ohol became a rarity: a Democrat elected to the Town Board in heavily Republican Cambria. Ohol and Matthew P. Foe, the Republican incumbent, each received 13 absentee votes, leaving Ohol's 16-vote Election Night lead intact. The unofficial totals: 649 for Ohol, 633 for Foe.

In Porter, Lawrence H. White, a Republican, clinched re-election as councilman by collecting 41 absentee votes to 36 for William A. Choboy, his Democratic opponent. The total stands at 902 for White to 858 for Choboy.

In the Family Court contest, Batt has been credited with 394 absentee votes so far, to 390 for DiPasquale. That leaves Batt, of Lockport, with a 533-vote lead.

About 100 votes have been set aside temporarily because of disputes, leaving about 1,100 more to count. DiPasquale, of Wheatfield, would need to grab about 75 percent of those ballots to overcome Batt's edge.

"Absentees tend to break the way the election did," Republican Election Commissioner Scott P. Kiedrowski said. Batt got 50.7 percent of the votes cast by machine.

With most of the ballots from heavily Democratic Niagara Falls counted, DiPasquale has only 56 more paper votes in the city than Batt. Ballots from 29 of its 39 election districts have been tallied.

In the coroner's race, DuBois was holding on to a slim lead over Jackman. Vote counts were completed in four towns in the district -- Cambria, Porter, Newfane and Niagara -- and were half finished in Lewiston.

DuBois, who was ahead by 84 votes on Election Night, has added 155 votes so far to Jackman's 169.

That leaves DuBois 70 votes ahead. To pull out a victory, Jackman would need about three-quarters of the 146 ballots from Lewiston and Wilson still to be counted.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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