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Local leaders take jabs over presidential race

Call it politics as usual, but now that Erie County's local races are settled political leaders are turning their attention to dueling over presidential politics.

With Republican candidate Donald Trump maintaining a lead nationally, but Hillary Clinton getting support here in Western New York, tensions are roiling between the two parties.

The Erie County Republican Party jeered Clinton on Twitter, with a meme of chairman Nick Langworthy mocking the Democratic Committee.

Earlier this evening, conservative operative Michael Caputo and County Executive Mark Poloncarz were betting over who would win Erie County.


Local winners are taking to Twitter to thank volunteers and voters. Here is a sampling of some of their election night sentiments:

Thank you voters of Erie County, my family and the volunteers who worked so hard on this campaign. Looking... https://t.co/udpGwPVz42

— John Flynn for DA (@flynnforda) November 9, 2016

 


In what came as a surprise for some area politicos, Hillary Clinton won among Erie County voters.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton lead with 51 percent of the voter and Trump garnered 45 percent.

Clinton's strongest support came in precincts in and around the City of Buffalo, with Trump gaining more support in the suburbs.

In other local election news, John J. Flynn Jr. emerged as the winner in a tight race for district attorney.

With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Flynn captured 55 percent of the vote, with opponent Joseph Treanor III garnering 45 percent.

[View live national and local election results]

Meanwhile, incumbents dominated other races for state and federal office.

Erie County election results point to the following wins:

  • Brian Higgins, 26th Congressional District
  • Chris Collins, 27th Congressional District
  • Patrick M. Gallivan, 59th State Senate District
  • Christopher L. Jacobs, 60th State Senate District
  • Michael H. Ranzenhofer, 61st State Senate District
  • Timothy M. Kennedy, 63rd State Senate District
  • Robin Schimminger, 140th State Assembly District
  • Crystal Peoples-Stokes, 141st State Assembly District
  • Michael P. Kearns, 142nd State Assembly District
  • Monica P. Wallace, 143rd State Assembly District
  • Michael J. Norris, 144th State Assembly District
  • Angelo J. Morinello, 145th State Assembly District
  • David J. DiPietro, 147th State Assembly District
  • Sean M. Ryan, 149th State Assembly District

 


Update: 9:45 p.m.

Early numbers show that Republican candidate Donald Trump was the favored candidate in Erie County. He has steadily maintained an edge over Hillary Clinton has results have trickled in.

Locally, those from both parties are gathering at their respective events to watch the vote results come in.

Republicans are meeting at the Avant building on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo.

The crowd gathered at the Democratic party headquarters cheered when CNN announced that Clinton took New York.


Update: 8:15 p.m.

As Western New Yorkers cast their final ballots at the polls, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown is already in New York City hoping for a Clinton victory — and that she will take his home region of Erie County.

"I'm feeling really good about the election in Buffalo," he said. "It's just inspiring to see how heavy the turnout was."

Brown's optimism counters the belief held by many local politicos that Trump will win in Erie County.

Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer came one step closer to becoming majority leader, as Democrat Tammy Duckworth beats Mark Kirk in Illinois.


Update: 7:45 p.m.

Joseph Murray votes in Erie County's wealthiest neighborhood. He voted for Donald Trump, the businessman.

"Trump has more of a feel for what we need economically, so hopefully he'll bring jobs, new business and tax relief," said the 52-year-old computer technician, who lives in the Eagle Heights neighborhood of Orchard Park.

Meanwhile, in a neighborhood with the largest population of black residents, Lashy Lucas cast her ballot for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who also needs a large turnout by black voters to win in Erie County and the country.

"Being a black woman, I don't see no other choice but to vote for her," Lucas said, after emerging from True Bethel Baptist Church at 907 E. Ferry St., the polling site for voters in Masten 32, the election district in Erie County with the highest concentration of African American voters.

The diversity of the county — along racial, economic and education lines — was becoming apparent at the polls on Tuesday. The Buffalo News spent Tuesday interviewing voters in precincts that represent demographics that could determine the election, both locally and across the country.

In one Cheektowaga precinct with a high number of voters over age 65, an octogenarian picked Trump.

By contrast, millenials in a Buffalo district found Trump mortifying.

With just an hour left until polls close, Erie County voters continued to flock to the polls. Elections officials expect turnout to be at least 70 percent, which would put it in line with the 2012 election.

Well over 50 percent turnout of registered voters at 3 districts at Reserve Fire District No. 3 in West Seneca.

Jeff Avolio of West Seneca voted for the first time Tuesday.

“It was exciting, something new,” he said at the poll at Reserve Fire District No. 3.

At the urging of his mother, Debbie, the 20-year-old sophomore at Erie Community College said what his plans are.

“I just joined the Marines,” he said, adding he wasn’t sure if that had to do with voting.

“This is an honor and privilege brought about by our past military,” the proud mother said.

Avolio said discussion in his government class has been all about the election, debates and Election Day.

Marilyn A. Ostrom almost didn't vote. The behavior of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton turned her off, leaving her unsettled right up to the last minute.

"As of this morning, I didn't want to vote for the first time ever," said Ostrom, a 76-year-old registered Democrat.

The Cleveland Hill High School graduate lives in suburban Depew in the Lancaster 9 election district, which has the second-lowest percentage of college-educated voters of any election district in Erie County. According to the polls, whites without college degrees are a demographic that strongly supports Trump, a Republican, across America, according to national polls.

But Ostrom bucked that trend. After talking with a friend from church, she decided to go to the polls, and she voted for Clinton.


Update: 7:15 p.m.

With early results projecting a lead for Trump in states where polls have closed, three key states will finish their polling at 7:30. They are Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Meanwhile, one youngster with local ties got an Election Day surprise.

Four-year-old Jackson Joyce woke up at 4:30 a.m with instructions: It's time to go meet the president.

Or the soon-to-be president, if his grandfather's expectations are correct.

Eric Pearlstein, with his wife and daughter, roused Jackson early to head from their Westchester County home to the polling site where Hillary and Bill Clinton would be casting their votes.

"He's into superheroes, and the president often gives superheroes assignments, so he knows the president is an important person," said Pearlstein, a former principal at Boston Valley Elementary School who lived in Western New York for 26 years and is now retired downstate.

A couple hours later, a motorcade pulled up and the Clintons emerged and thanked the crowd. As Pearlstein recalls it, Hillary Clinton "made a comment how it was wonderful to be around neighbors who came out to see her, and that she's glad it's coming to an end."

As the Clintons worked the rope line, they found Jackson and reached down to shake his hand.


Update: 7 p.m.

A California polling station has been closed as law enforcement look for an active shooter who they say is heavily armed.

The Los Angeles Times reports that one person is dead and multiple people injured after a shooting near the Asuza polling station.

The shooting happened shortly after 2 p.m. and police are looking for at least one suspect who is heavily armed. It is unclear how the search could affect voting in that area.


Update: 6:45 p.m.

Several national media outlets are reporting that former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush did not vote for either of the main party candidates.

A spokesperson told National Public Radio that both Bush and his wife left the line blank.

The former president and his wife were among scores of voters displeased with this year's options.

A CNN exit poll is showing that while 42 percent of voters surveyed said they strongly supported their choice of candidate, 31 percent had reservations when they cast a ballot.

The survey results underscore an election season marked by bitter division and voter skepticism of the two major candidates.

That sentiment was reflected locally.

“I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hillary or Donald,” said Hamburg resident Dawn Streicher.

So she wrote in the name of the Constitution Party candidate, Darrell Castle, because he most lined up with her view of the world.

“I can sleep at night knowing I didn’t vote for either one of them,” she added.


Update: 5:50 p.m.

A CNN exit poll is showing that while 42 percent of voters surveyed said they strongly supported their choice of candidate, 31 percent had reservations when they cast a ballot.

The survey results underscore an election season marked by bitter division and voter skepticism of the two main party candidates.

Local precincts continue to report strong turnout in the early hours of the evening.

Dawn Streicher was in Florida for the 2000 “hanging chad” presidential election, and she says filling in the small circle on New York ballots is easier.

Picking a candidate for president was not as easy.

“I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hillary or Donald,” she said. So she wrote in the name of the Constitution Party candidate, Darrell Castle, because he most lined up with her view of the world.

“I can sleep at night knowing I didn’t vote for either one of them,” she said.

She brought her daughter, Victoria, 13, and son, William, 10, to the poll at Hamburg Town Hall. She exclaimed when the election inspector told her she was the 444th voter.

“That’s their great-grandfather’s lucky number,” she said, pointing to the children. “It’s always coming up.”

Streicher urged her children to pull up chairs next to her as she filled in the circles and wrote Castle’s name.

Victoria, who is in the eighth grade at Hamburg Middle School, said students voted in school, and the results were about even between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In Kenmore, Peggy Ptak said she voted for Hillary Clinton because she's "the lesser of two evils." Ptak said she likes Clinton's knowledge and experience.


Update: 5:30 p.m.

Local precincts continue to report strong turnout in the early hours of the evening.

More than 59 percent of enrolled voters have cast ballots so far at Lindbergh Elementary in Kenmore. Election workers say it's been steady all day.

"We've had numbers like I've never seen before," said election worker Cindy Slisz.

Most of the election inspectors at the poll at the North Collins Municipal Building know nearly every voter in town. But not today.

“There’s people coming out I’ve ever seen, with new (voter registration)  cards,” said election inspector Corinne Leone.

And a lot of them are younger people.

“They’re all asking for stickers,” she said.

One voter who didn’t ask for a sticker was a 97-year-old woman who has not voted in years, she said.

There were 20 people lined up at 6 a.m. waiting to get into the polls, and by 4 p.m. close to 300, or nearly half the registered voters in the district, had showed up.

One of them was Shirley Kasper, who felt she had to vote.

“It’s my right to vote. I feel like if I don’t and I’m not happy with the result, I can’t justify my sitting at home and not voting,” she said. “Women have only been voting since 1920.”

She declined to say who got her vote.

Heading into the final hours of voting in Erie County, election commissioners report a steady turnout that will likely hit 70 percent by the time polls close. As of 4:30 p.m., turnout was about 30 percent in the city and 50 percent in the suburbs.

That will match the turnout of the 2012 presidential election, and possibly creep even higher as the evening hours bring another wave of post-work voters.


Update: 5:00 p.m.

Precincts all over the county anecdotally are reporting higher than usual turnout.

As of about 5 p.m., more than 1,373 Kenmore residents had voted at Lindbergh Elementary School.

"We've had numbers like I've never seen before," said election worker Cindy Slisz.

Poll workers at municipal building 20 in North Collins had steady lines has had steady lines since 6 a.m. They did not catch a break in wait time until about 4:30 p.m.

"It's my right to vote," said Shirley Kasper of North Collins. "Women have only been voting since 1920."


Update: 4:30 p.m.

Heading into the final hours of voting in Erie County, elections commissioners report a steady turnout that will likely hit 70 percent by the time polls close.

That will match the turnout of the 2012 presidential election, and possibly creep even higher as the evening hours bring another wave of post-work voters.

"We had it really, really steady before work," said elections commissioner Ralph Mohr. "Then you get the after-work crowd."

As of 4:30 p.m., turnout was about 30 percent in the city and 50 percent in the suburbs.

Precincts are reporting few problems beyond the standard paper jams, which they're seeing more of becuse of large numbers of voters and some who are casting ballots for the first time.

The biggest complaint, said elections commissioner Len Lenihan, is the county's absence of stickers.

"That's probably the No. 1 thing people asked about today," said Lenihan, noting that Erie County hasn't given out stickers in about 15 years.


Update: 1:07 p.m.

A local cab company offering free rides to and from the polls is getting swamped with calls.

Liberty Cab is offering the no-cost rides to any resident in Buffalo or the Town of Tonawanda. The company's president said in a news release the phone started ringing as soon as the polls opened at 6 a.m.

"We even received calls last night pre-ordering our service," Bill Yuhnke said in a statement. "Early this morning we were receiving between 5 and 10 requests every 10 minutes or so."

The free service is being provided through a partnership between the cab company, the Clean Air Coalition, Community Power for Health and Justice and the Canisius College Communication and Leadership graduate program.

Residents can request the service by calling 877-7111 and using the code LibertyRide2Vote. Callers are asked to be patient because of large volume of phone calls being taken.


Update: 11:05 a.m.

The line to vote was out the door at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Main Street in Snyder around 10:30 a.m. There were about 40 people in line at one point and there was about a 25-minute wait. This is election districts Amherst 12 and Amherst 15.


Update: 10:57 a.m.

A News reporter went to the second of two polling places where there were reports of poll workers asking all voters for identification (only first-time voters have to show ID in New York State). The reporter at All Saints Church on Chadduck Avenue in Buffalo's Riverside section found poll workers at the door asking to see voters' registration cards in order to direct them to one of four different tables at the site for different election districts.

If the voter doesn't have their registration card, they are being asked for what street they live on, a poll worker told a reporter.

Voters who have voted in prior elections do not have to show identification.


Niagara County sees high turnout, more unregistered voters showing up at polls
Update: 10:37 a.m.

Election officials in Niagara County are reporting high voter turnout so far today. The biggest issue officials have been facing so far is the amount of people coming to vote who are not registered.

“A lot of people are coming out, more so than other elections, that are just not registered,” said Deputy Republican Commissioner Michael Carney.

Carney said people are coming to polling sites either thinking they had registered or in other cases they have moved from Erie County and did not register in Niagara County. He said a lot of people don’t realize that when they move they have to reregister to vote.

If someone has moved within Niagara County and are not inactive in the Niagara County system they may be able to vote by affidavit said Carney.

“We give them a paper ballot and that goes in an envelope. They tell us their old address and their new address and they swear that the information they have given us is the truth,” said Carney. But Carney said they are very careful about someone trying to rig the system. He said everything is checked and if someone purjures themselves - they could be charged with a violation of election law.

There have been some machine malfunctions and have custodians on duty that have been able to fix them.

Carney said they have replacement machines at the Board of Elections in Lockport, if there is a break down that they can’t fix, but they haven’t had to send out any new machines.

“Machines are mechanical and there been a few issues here and there, but that’s to be expected,” Carney said without being specific. “There’s been nothing we can’t fix.”


Update: 9:57 a.m.

WROC-TV in Rochester has a live video feed from Susan B. Anthony's gravesite:


Update: 9:35 a.m.

The Buffalo News sent a reporter to one of the polling places that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said had reports of polling workers asking for voters' identifications.

At South Line Fire Hall on French Road in Cheektowaga, a poll worker told a reporter no one is being asked for ID. There is a poll worker at the door asking voters for the name of the street they live on so they can be directed to the correct voting district line at the fire hall.

The polling place usually has two voting machines, said poll worker Michelle Bliss. But this year, they have three.

"And, boy, have we needed them," Bliss said.


Update: 8:17 a.m.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted he heard reports of polling places asking all voters for identification in order to vote. Only first-time voters are required to show ID in New York.

All Saints is in Buffalo's Riverside section, while South Line is in Cheektowaga.


Update: 6:50 a.m.

Some polling places were busy scenes in the first hour of voting on Tuesday.

At the South Wilson Fire Hall in Niagara County, 70 voters had cast ballots by 6:40 a.m. Five people were waiting in line at the hall 45 minutes before the polls opened. By the time the doors opened, the line had grown to 14, the head elections custodian at the site said.


Ongoing Election Day coverage

Find the latest election news by checking back all day at the new BuffaloNews.com and make sure to come back when the polls close to get complete coverage and results of local, state and national races.

Readers have free, unlimited digital access to coverage during our relaunch.

We'll have results from the presidential race broken down by Erie County election district and state-by-state presidential results, as well as all the in-depth local coverage you've come to expect from The Buffalo News.

Polls across the state will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Need to find your polling place? Want to see what's on your ballot? Click here. (You can also check vote411.org.)

For a complete list all of The News' local, race-by-race coverage check out our 2016 Election Day Guide.

The state Attorney General's Office has set up a hotline for anyone to report problems at polling sites. The phone number is (800) 771-7755. You can also email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov. The hotline and email are monitored while polls are open. Other places to report problems include 866-OUR-VOTE, which is run by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; 888-VE-Y-VOTA (English/Spanish); and 888-API-VOTE (Asian-Pacific Islander Vote).

Stay tuned to BuffaloNews.com for everything you need to know about the election.

 

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