Absentee ballots to determine new Rensselaer Co. Executive

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The race for Rensselaer County Executive isn’t over, yet.

Republican Steve McLaughlin declared victory, but democrat Andrea Smyth is waiting until all of the votes are counted. Just under 1,000 votes separate the two candidates.

“We are just going to wait until every single vote is counted,” Smyth said. “I mean, that’s the way it needs to be.”

Smyth remained optimistic on election night even after her opponent declared victory.

“What a heck of a win, right?” McLaughlin declared Tuesday night at his watch party.

With 100 percent of the ballots counted, the difference between the two candidates is two percent or more than 900 votes. Smyth isn’t backing down until absentee ballots are taken into account.

“After so many years of not having a contested race, we really feel strongly that the voters who made the effort to cast a ballot should have their vote counted,” Smyth said.

According to both candidates, around 2,600 absentee ballots were issued, and the Rensselaer County Board of Elections has received about 1,900 of them.

Even if Smyth’s total increases, McLaughlin said it’s impossible she could come out on top.

“There is statistically no way that you close that gap because we can guarantee you we have at least half of those,” he said.

While McLaughlin doesn’t believe the delay in declaring a winner will hurt the county, he hopes he can move forward soon.

“I understand it’s difficult to lose a race,” he said. “I’ve been there. I lost my first assembly race, so we just keep a positive attitude.”

Absentee counting starts on Monday. Smyth said she’ll only continue if she’s ahead. She won’t ask for a recount of all the votes.

“We’ll take it every day at a time depending on what the count reads,” she said.

Absentee ballots could arrive through November 14.

According to the board of elections, the last day to mail an absentee ballot is the day before the election, and the last day it can be received is seven days after the election.

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