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Today is the last day to contest Election 2020 ballots

Erie County Board of Elections

Monday is the last day for those involved in tough elections in Erie County to object to some votes cast, before the final count starts Tuesday.

The final count is more complicated than most years because there are so many mail ballots -- 93,000 -- to be counted and there are still some ballots out there that can come in and be counted, mostly ballots by the military serving in the far corners of the planet.

"It doesn't take a very long time to open up envelopes, pull out a ballot and run them through a tabulator," said Erie County Republican Election Commissioner Ralph Mohr. "What takes the the time is to go through and to verify each ballot to make sure that the person did not appear in person either on early voting day or on Election Day and also is eligible to cast a ballot."

Some elections will be decided by those mail-in ballots: an expensive State Supreme Court race in eight counties, two state Assembly seats and a Lancaster Town Board seat.

"Objections that are made to ballots are generally overruled by the commissioners," said Mohr. "We try to count every single vote and the only reason that a vote would not be counted would be if the person had voted twice or if they person was not registered. We feel we have done a pretty good job going through all of those and weeding those out."

Because of COVID, only a few campaign staffers will be allowed in to look at ballots. Elections commissioners will meet Tuesday morning and vote on the challenges, then the actual vote counting starts.

The final certification has to be complete by Dec. 2. Mohr said Erie County is usually complete around Thanksgiving.

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.
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