Updated: June 30, 2020 01:49 PM
Created: June 30, 2020 10:36 AM
ALBANY – Work started Tuesday morning at the Albany County Board of Elections to count absentee ballots. With so many more people voting by mail during the pandemic, these ballots will help decide many races.
Members of the Albany County Board of Elections said there are about 21,000 absentee ballots to count.
Sitting around a table Tuesday morning were many lawyers and some candidates. Albany County Legislator Sam Fein is running against incumbent John McDonald for the 108th Assembly District. He said less than 500 votes separate him and McDonald.
He said in Albany County, there are about 3,000 absentee ballots that need to be counted for the race.
"It's an exciting process," said Fein. "They're opening the ballots one by one. It's a slow process, but you know it's a close race and we're feeling really good about where we're at."
#HAPPENINGNOW: Absentee ballots are beginning to be counted in #Albany County. The democratic commissioner here had said last week he expects about 20,000 ballots to be counted. This could take another week before we have results. @WNYT pic.twitter.com/vaUDQaQIDn— Emily De Vito (@emilydevito) June 30, 2020
In addition, a race many eyes are on is the race for Albany County District Attorney. Matt Toporowski is looking to take over the job from District Attorney David Soares. Toporowski said he felt good about counting the absentee ballots and was looking to close the more than 1,000 vote lead Soares has over him. Toporowski said it's important to look at all the ballots.
"Because of the extraneous markings, we're just trying to make sure we get the voters' intents," said Toporowski. "I think we're just going to keep seeing how it goes, how the votes come in on a day by day basis. They are going to use the machines to run them through as well, but there are also some hand counts that need to happen."
However, James Long, an attorney who represents Soares, said weeks ago they offered for the ballots just to be run through the machines. He said not everyone agreed on that.
"What will happen here with the 21,000 if this keeps going on at this rate is that there will be no decision for months," said Long. "Hopefully somebody has an awakening that this is not the way to do it."
Long said everyone needs to let the Albany County Board of Elections do its job.
"They have machines that can open the envelopes," said Long. "They have speed machines that can count them."
As for when the votes could be completed, no one could give a definitive answer, but said it will likely not be until the end of next week.
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