Bloomingburg and Hancock: Where every vote counts

In upstate New York's smallest villages, every vote really does count.

The Delaware County village of Hancock got a potent reminder of the power of the ballot box in last Tuesday's election, when incumbent mayor John Martin squeaked to victory over challenger Eugene Morgan by just a single vote, 107-106. 

Because of the closeness of the race, Morgan asked the Delaware County Board of Elections to do a recount of the ballots. 

Democratic election commissioner Judy Garrison said that a recount done on Tuesday, March 26, which included 15 absentee ballots that had already been counted by the village, upheld the original vote count, 107 for Martin to 106 for Morgan. 

While statewide elections went electronic after 2010, Hancock -- along with some other villages -- is still using old lever machines for local elections. They're still working just fine, Garrison said.

"They used some of the old machines, so we had to check the tumblers," she said. 

In the Sullivan County village of Bloomingburg, a race for a seat on the village board was locked in a tie as of last week, with incumbent Clifford Teich and Rural Heritage challenger Joe Gotthardt each getting 40 votes

A recount by the Sullivan County Board of Elections on March 26 shifted the balance to Gotthardt. While Gotthardt lost a vote that was discarded because of stray marks made on the ballot, he more than made up for it after 13 additional absentee ballots and three affidavit ballots were counted: The final count was 50 for Gotthardt, 45 for Teich. 

Democratic election commissioner Ann Prusinski said the Bloomingburg results are technically still unofficial, but will be certified soon.

Another recount done in the Sullivan County village of Liberty's close mayoral race upheld the outcome of last week's results, with challenger Dan Ratner beating incumbent mayor Richard Winters.