November 30, 2021

Absentee tally sees Brindisi take lead in county

Rep. Anthony Brindisi reversed an Election Day deficit in Cortland County with absentee ballots, going from nearly 1,000 votes behind challenger Claudia Tenney to leading by more than 1,500 votes, Cortland County elections officials reported Thursday.

Results were not available from the other seven counties in the 22nd Congressional District, but the tally from Election Night in Cortland County was 8,434 for Republican Tenney to 7,460 for Democrat Brindisi. By the end of counting the absentee ballots, Brindisi was ahead in Cortland, 11,005 to 9,535.

Tenney, of Oneida, led Brindisi, of Utica, across the district by more than 28,000 votes behind on Election Night, 139,883 to 111,461. However, a large number of absentee ballots were requested and returned and were more likely to be from Democrats.

In the county, 5,046 absentee ballots were sent out and 4,924 were received and counted, reports the Cortland County Board of Elections. Of those received, 2,277 were from enrolled Democrats, 1,334 from Republicans and 809 to unaffiliated voters.

“It is important that the voters of Cortland County and New York’s 22nd District have their voices heard,” Brindisi said in a statement. “I am honored that a majority of Cortland County voters want to send me back to Congress. I have a proven record of working with both parties to get things done and will stand up to anyone on behalf of our district. As all the legal votes are counted, I am hopeful I will have the chance to continue to serve this community.”

Sean Kennedy, Tenney’s campaign spokesman, said that “when all ballots are counted, Claudia will prevail.”

More than 50,000 absentee ballots were sent across the district, according to news media reports.

For other races, absentee ballots made the county results tighter:

In the presidential race on Election Night in Cortland County, Donald Trump had almost 3,000 more votes than Democratic challenger Joe Biden, 9,484 to 6,829, according to state Board of Elections numbers. With absentee ballots added to their Election Day and early voting results, Trump’s lead shrank to less than 500 votes, 10,771 to 10,293.

In the 51st State Senate District race, Republican Peter Oberacker led by almost 3,000 votes to Democrat Jim Barber, 9,477 to 6,473. With absentee ballots added, Oberacker’s lead was cut to about 1,300, 10,962 to 9,649.

Beginning the count of the absentee ballots was delayed by a few hours Tuesday due to a lawsuit filed by Tenney’s campaign calling for votes to be verified and their validity to be determined.

Counting was allowed to begin around noon Tuesday, Thomas Brown, the Democratic commissioner for the Cortland County Board of Elections, said.