TAGHKANIC–It’s finally over, as Democrats claimed victory in all four disputed town races left undecided since the November 3 general election.
At the continuation Wednesday, January 13, in Hudson of a series of court hearings that started last December before acting state Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols, enough of the remaining ballots were counted to assure that Democrats Larry Kadish and Joyce Thompson were elected to the Town Board. Jeffrey Tallackson will serve as a town justice, and Tom Youhas was elected highway superintendent. Both are Democrats.
The county Board of Elections, which has both a Democratic and a Republican commissioner, has certified the results as complete, though the official final vote counts were not available as of press time.
County Republicans waged an intense legal campaign to disqualify the paper ballots cast by second home owners in the town, using arguments raised by the party in the special election for Congress in the 20th that voters should cast their ballots where they maintain their primary residence. State court decisions have not supported that position.
Initially the GOP challenged paper ballots in towns around the county, but eventually focused on Taghkanic, where Republican candidates held the lead after the machine votes were counted though the majority of uncounted absentee ballots were cast by Democrats and independents. As it turned out, the Republican Party’s fears about the outcome were justified by this week’s count.
“It’s a relief after such a long time,” County Democratic Commissioner of Elections Virginia Martin said after the count was complete. She was not pleased by the ultimately futile challenge waged by Republicans, calling it “a waste of taxpayers’ money,” because she and the Board of Elections were the targets of the GOP’s civil actions. But she also sounded philosophical about the board’s role in the election process. “This is what we’re here for, to ensure that voters are properly registered and that their votes are counted as they were cast,” said Ms. Martin.
Combining the ballots the two parties agreed to count this week with an earlier unofficial vote total produces numbers that are close to the final tally:
Jeffrey Tallackson (D) 327
Raymond Dalrymple (R) 312
Larry Kadish 318
Tom Kiely 310
Joyce Thompson 320
Erik Tyree 314
Tom Youhas (D) 338
Edward Waldron (D) 307
Gracious in defeat , GOP Town Board candidate Eric Tyree said of the two Democrats who will serve on the board, “I know that Joyce and Larry will do a wonderful job.” Republicans still hold a majority on the board.
Editor Parry Teasdale contributed to this story.