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Thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted

File photo

You may think Election 2012 is over, but not at the Erie County Board of Elections.  Not only is the vote count released on Election Day unofficial, it doesn't include thousands of absentee ballots. Federal legislation is designed to ensure members of the military can vote, but the count won't start until November 20 and could take weeks. 

For the most part, victory margins for candidates are usually large enough that the absentee count won't overturn the voting machine count.  But there are cases were it is not always true.

Former Erie County Executive Chris Collins is about 4,000 votes ahead of Representative Kathy Hochul and she has conceded.

There are many absentee votes out there in the district, including 7,500 in the Erie County portion of the nine counties covered.

Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward says there are a lot of uncounted votes from the entire county.

"We have had 21,300 ballots returned to us.  That's on the countywide basis. There still was over 4,000 of them which were requested, but or I should say were sent out but whether they have been returned or not is another question.  A  lot of times they get requested then they don't get returned," said Ward.

Board of Elections workers have to wait a few more days to accept ballots postmarked before Election Day.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.