Rennselaer Co. Election board starts absentee ballot counting
UPDATE: Democratic candidate for Rensselaer County Executive Andrea Smyth has conceded the race.
On election night, her competitor, Assemblyman Steve Mclaughlin declared victory but Smyth didn't concede.
On Monday, the board of elections started counting absentee ballots.
At the time, McLaughlin had a 900-vote lead over Smyth.
Said Smyth, "The day unfolded today in Troy I was not picking up as much ground as I would have hoped for and decided it was best to allow my opponent to get started on his management of the county."
Assemblyman McLaughlin tells CBS 6 that he now serves the entire county from this point forward.
He will replace fellow Republican Kathy Jimino. The Governor will now decide whether a special election will be held for McLaughlin's state assembly seat - if not, it will remain vacant until next year's election in November.
The Rennselaer County Board of Elections still have to sift through around 2,000 absentee ballots before calling the election. Commissioners say they're knocking out the towns with the largest ballots first, starting today with North Greenbush.
"You have four legislative races as well as a supervisor two town council seats and the list goes on and on. We're doing every single race instead of having to go back and do it again at another time," says Edward McDonough, the Democratic election commissioner.
"As soon as we get past the controversial districts then we can get more than one group opening up the ballots," says Larry Bugbee, the Republican election commissioner.
The race for the County Executive seat is making the most headlines.
Republican Steve McLaughlin's campaign manager says he's comfortable with the 900 vote lead his campaign had on election night.
But Smyth has not conceded the race.
Both election board commissioners say they don’t see the outcome changing.
"At the end I don't think they'll be much of a change. If anything well build on our lead. And we have pretty good outreach to voters on the absentees and we expect it will bear some rewards for us," says Rich Christ, McLaughlin’s campaign manager.
Smyth on the other hand is waiting until every vote is counted. It’s part of her bid to become the first Democrat in years to win the county’s executive seat.
"I'm really committed to making sure all the absentee ballots are counted before we make a decision. Right now we will remain optimistic that we'll head into Troy without losing any ground,” Smyth said.
Once the County finishes counting the votes from North Greenbush, they’ll move to Troy’s ballots. They expect to finish up the ballots within a week.