Decided: Our 2020 Elections

Here, we’ve put together, generally in reverse chronological order of their posting, summaries reporting the results of the November 2020 General Election in Enfield:

Absentees and Early Votes flip Enfield back to “Blue”

by Robert Lynch, Posted December 6, 2020

Many Democratic-leaning Enfield voters stayed home on Election Day.

They didn’t need to vote.  They’d already done so.  Or at least they’d put their ballots in the mailbox.

Yes, they really did each win Enfield… and the Election.

Final and official results from the 2020 General Election, released last week by the Tompkins County Board of Elections, revealed that Enfield’s early votes and absentee ballots, while only a minor proportion of the total votes cast, swung disproportionally in Democrats’ favor, propelling President-elect Joe Biden, Assemblymember-elect Anna Kelles, and the two losing Democratic candidates for Congress and New York State Senate to win majority support among the town’s voters.

So the “red wave,” suggested by the Republican-leaning machine totals the night of November third, never really happened.

The final Enfield results, now broken out for each of the Town’s three election districts, show President-elect Biden having captured the support of 58.4 per cent of Enfield’s voters, the President-elect securing 1,031 Enfield votes to President Donald Trump’s 707.

Though they each lost to Republican incumbents overall in their respective races for Congress and New York State Senate, Democrats Tracy Mitrano and Leslie Danks Burke each chalked up majorities in Enfield’s final vote.  Mitrano secured 1,009 Enfield votes (58.5%) against Congressman Tom Reed’s 693 votes (40.2%) and Libertarian Andrew Kolstee’s two dozen votes.  Danks Burke garnered 987 Enfield votes (58.3%), compared to State Senator Tom O’Mara’s 707 (41.7%). 

Assemblymember-Elect Kelles; she won Enfield after-all

Newly-elected State Assembly candidate Anna Kelles chalked up the largest percentage victory margin.  Whereas it appeared Election Night that Kelles would fall some ten points behind her Republican opponent, the more recently counted early and absentee votes actually pushed Kelles’ final margin over the 60 per cent mark, the Ithaca Democrat beating Matthew McIntyre in Enfield, 996 votes (60.2%) to McIntyre’s 659 (39.8%).

Reflecting the trend observed nationally, Enfield’s early and absentee vote broke decidedly Democratic, perhaps even more so than some observers had predicted.

For example, interpolating the Board of Elections final data and comparing it with the same-day machine totals—the Elections Board’s latest tallies do not segregate absentee ballots and early votes from the overall totals—one finds that a whopping 83.5 per cent of early and absentee voters (587 voters compared to 116) voted for Joe Biden rather than for Donald Trump.

Similarly, in the Congressional contest, 558 of early or absentee voters (79.3%) supported Democrat Tracy Mitrano. And 82.5% of those who’d voted early or absentee voted for Democratic Assembly candidate Kelles; 79.9% for Danks Burke.

Indeed, an overview of the election returns, just as on Election Night, suggests overwhelming straight-ticket voting.  Down-ballot candidates grabbed voter-awarded coattails from their respective Presidential standard-bearers.  Joe Biden’s victory margin in Enfield stood only within a point or two of the majorities secured by Mitrano, Kelles, and Danks Burke.  In his race, Biden bested Trump by 18.4 percentage points Town-wide.

Comparing the 2020 Enfield Presidential race to that of 2016, some things have changed; but others have not.  Voter turnout was higher in 2020, mirroring the national trend.  Biden drew 204 more votes in Enfield than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.  But Trump drew more votes as well, 79 more.  And while Democratic Presidential support grew by 24.7 per cent during those four years, much of the Democratic gains apparently stemmed from the lack of viable third-party candidates to bleed off Democratic support, third-party spoilers like 2016’s Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. 

But despite the 2020 statistical Democratic advantage, a stubborn fact remains.  President Trump’s support among Enfield voters remains rock-solid.  Whereas 40.2 per cent backed the outspoken Republican nominee in 2016, 40.0 per cent of Enfield’s electorate did so this November.

Final official returns made only miniscule change, if any, in the resounding rejection of two proposed Enfield Local Laws, which would have changed the Town offices of Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent from elected to appointive.  As previously reported, each proposal lost by a margin of greater than four-to-one.  (See story of November 19th.)


Beyond Enfield’s borders, in all of Tompkins County, Ithaca-centric liberal preferences kept it a cool-blue island often surrounded by a rural upstate sea of Trumpian red.  Joe Biden secured 73.6 per cent of the Tompkins County Presidential vote, earning 33,619 votes to Trump’s 11,096. 

Tracy Mitrano, despite losing to Reed badly—for this, the second time—in her Southern Tier district, captured 72.5 per cent of Tompkins County’s support.  Kelles claimed Tompkins County, the electoral anchor of her 125th District, with 73.4 per cent of the vote to McIntyre’s 26.5 per cent.

Kelles declared victory in her two-county Assembly contest November 13th.  Mitrano and Danks Burke have each conceded defeat in their races.

Enfield’s results worked to defy congressional candidate Mitrano’s optimistic prediction two years ago that with improved name recognition, her rematch with Reed would bring her better results.  At least in Enfield, it didn’t work.  While Democrat Mitrano won over 63 per cent of the vote in 2018, she got just 58.5 per cent of it this time, despite improved voter turnout.  And while 145 more voters in Enfield turned out for Tracy, 190 more turned out for Tom.

As the turnout of early voters and COVID-cautious relaxed mail-in ballot rules helped leverage final votes in the Democrats’ favor, voter response to the brave new world of 21st Century voting, at least in Enfield, remains under-whelming.  Hometown voters still like their Election Day.  While the Board of Elections reports that 314 Enfield residents voted early, and about another 389 voted absentee, a full 60 percent of Enfield’s electorate still voted in person on November third.  What tipped the scales was that Democrats appeared to favor electoral innovation far more than did Republicans.  Or else, of course, Trump voters may have heeded their President’s heralded call to vote the old-fashioned way.


For election geeks who wade into the political weeds (like this writer), the Enfield numbers yield a puzzling statistic, one that on its surface defies explanation.  As in 2016, and again two years later, Enfield District Number One—it begins on the center line of Mecklenburg Road and extends south about as far as Enfield Center and Bostwick/Harvey Hill Roads—appears more conservative than either of its neighboring districts, either to the north or south.  District One includes Enfield Center.  But that shouldn’t matter, should it?

In District 2 (north of Route 79), Joe Biden won 62.6% of the Enfield vote.  The President-elect found just over six-in-ten support in District 3, to the south.  But in District 1, only 52.4 per cent of residents backed Biden.  The quirk repeated itself down-ballot.  In District 1, Mitrano and Danks Burke just eked out majorities (about 51%).  It’s a brain-teaser for all to ponder as we plan the next election—and likely soon, reapportion our whole Town. 

We are “One Enfield,” aren’t we?


Posted Previously:

Final Count: Local Laws fail by more than 4:1 margins

Posted November 19, 2020

Keep Enfield Elected, the campaign slogan planted in lawns and stuck into doors this election season was also carried to the polls as final totals show the two ballot propositions that would have excluded the voters from choosing two key Enfield officers fell by landslide proportions.

And the sign (or something) worked!

Completed counting of Absentee Ballots, combined Thursday (Nov. 19th) with earlier-announced same-day and early machine voting, showed “Local Laws One and Two,” which would have, respectively, made the offices of Enfield Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent appointive rather than elected, lost by margins of greater than four-to-one.

The released tallies—unofficial, but unlikely to change— show 1,367 voters (82.3%) opposing making the Town Clerk appointive, while only 294 (17.7%) supported the change.

On the second Local Law, which would have made the same change for Highway Superintendent, slightly fewer voters, 1,348, (81.3%) opposed the transition, but only 310 (18.7%) favored an appointive highway chief.

The Thursday addition of 392 Absentee Ballots to the previously-disclosed Election Night tallies made little change in the overall percentages of defeat.  On the statistical margins, however, the totals suggested those who voted in-person were somewhat more opposed to the changes than were those who’d voted by mail.

Moreover, the numbers prove that despite the risks posed by COVID-19 and the relaxed exceptions the State granted for mail-in voting, in-person balloting remains Enfield’s preference.  78 per cent of Enfield’s votes this election year were cast either on Election Day or by early voting.  Only 22 per cent voted Absentee.

In late-July, the Enfield Town Board, despite overwhelming opposition at a pair of Public Hearings, voted to place both Local Laws onto November’s ballot.  Though some of former Supervisor Beth McGee’s earlier drafts would have abruptly ended both elected positions at mid-term, this coming January, the measures that cleared the Board—yet requiring voter consent—would have made the changes effective when both the Clerk’s and Superintendent’s terms next expire at the end of 2021.

At the time the Board acted, some members argued they only sought to offer Enfield voters a choice.  Others maintained, however, that the initiatives reflected ongoing personality clashes between certain Board members and both the incumbent Town Clerk, Ellen Woods; and the Highway Superintendent, Barry (Buddy) Rollins.  At the time, critics predicted the referenda would lose by landslides.  They did.

In the final weeks before Election Day, several activists in and out of Town politics launched efforts to defeat the proposed laws.  Grassroots organizers, as well as Town Clerk Woods, procured yard signs.  Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer), through an organization he founded, “Let Democracy Breathe,” printed and distributed hundreds of political cards door-to-door urging a “No” vote.

Perhaps because of the last-minute solicitations, ballots likely cast later in the election cycle reflected a higher degree of voter opposition.  For example, on the proposed law to alter the Clerk’s selection, machine totals showed the proposition losing by more than 84 per cent (more than a 5:1 loss); whereas Absentee Ballots, some presumably cast earlier, showed opposition at just under 75% (a 3:1 loss). 

The referendum affecting the Highway Superintendent evidenced similar presumed erosion in voter support.  However, in neither contest did support for the measures ever approach the opposition to them.

“I’m glad this is over,” said Councilperson Lynch, the only Town Board member to oppose placing the measures onto the ballot.  “These never should have been voted on in the first place.  Our residents told us they didn’t want the changes.  We who govern defied their wishes.  Enfield spoke loudly.  Now I hope we’ve learned our lesson.”

Enfield stood alone this year as the only Tompkins County’s municipality holding any referenda.  That distinction, coupled with the lack of any New York State ballot initiatives, prompted concern by some that local voters would forget to turn their ballots over and consider the two proposed local laws.  That fear proved unfounded, as more than 93 per cent of those voting in Enfield this year expressed their preference on each item.

“Good for Enfield Democracy,” remarked Lynch.


Posted Previously:

Anna Kelles Broke “the Curse”

Posted November 5, 2020

On Election Day 2020, Ithaca’s Anna Kelles, a five-year veteran of the Tompkins County Legislature, became the 125th District’s presumptive Assemblyperson-Elect, winning same-day and early voting in her two-county district by a more than 30-point margin over her Republican challenger.  Though absentee ballots remain to be counted, the election’s outcome stands hardly in doubt.  Democrat Anna Kelles—my close friend and political ally—will become our next and newest representative in Albany, succeeding the retiring Barbara Lifton.

Anna Kelles, Presumptive Assemblyperson-Elect, at Tompkins County Legislature, Thursday, Nov. 5th

Thursday, November fifth marked the County Legislature’s first meeting since the election.  Many of Kelles’ colleagues offered their congratulations, beginning, most notably, with Dryden’s Mike Lane.

Lane lost his own bid for the State Assembly many years ago.  More recently, Lane’s Dryden Colleague, County Legislator Martha Robertson, lost her own race for Congress.  Only those with decades-long memories, like me, recall when Dryden’s Gary Lee was elevated from County Representative to State Assembly, and then Congress, or when voters promoted Rep. Hugh (Sam) MacNeil to the State Assembly as well. 

Our County Legislature’s long promotional dry spell provided Mike Lane’s stepping-off point:

“I’d like to add my voice (of) congratulations to Anna Kelles for her election. 

“Anna, whether you know it or not, I think you broke “the curse.”  And “the curse” is that people on the Legislature have not had a very good track record with being elected to higher office.  And that includes me.

“Not since, I think, the 1980’s when Sam MacNeil and Gary Lee, who have served on the Legislature (then called the Board of Representatives) made it to higher office, has anyone until now, until your election, been able to take on a State or Federal elected office position.  So, we’re glad you broke “the curse.”  We look forward to working with you as you make your way into State Government, which I think you’ll find to be a wonderful experience…”


What followed shortly thereafter was what one might best describe as Anna’s victory statement; her passage point; her acknowledgement of a turned page in her life.  She told me later her remarks were totally unscripted:

“I wanted to thank you, Mike, so much, and everyone here.

“It’s been five of the most educational, humbling, inspiring, uplifting, infuriating, and brilliant years of my life.  Every emotion that I could have had, this experience has brought me and made me a better person.  And I say that with all of my heart. 

“I have truly been so honored to serve on the Legislature, and there are very few people as Mike pointed out—and Mike, thank you so much; I’m honored—there are very few people at the State Legislature who have County experience.  And one of the things, of course, that we know is we have gotten so deeply hampered by unfunded mandates; and it… it has been grilled into me and, you know, something that I understand in my heart, not just intellectually, but I’ve seen the impact on our community.

“And so bringing the experiences with me to the State, you know, I hope to share with my colleagues and, and hopefully have some impact….

“Well, thank you so much.”


Anna Kelles will be resigning the Tompkins County Legislature soon.  A Special Election in her Fall Creek District will be held to choose a successor.  Life moves on.  Anna moves up.  Anna will lead.  She will serve us well.  In politics, trust me, she’s one of the good ones.

Yes, “the curse” deserves to be broken.  Anna Kelles deserves to be the one to break it.

Good Luck, friend.



From Election Night:

Local Laws fail by landslide amid Enfield Red Wave

by Robert Lynch, November 3, 2020; ; updated Nov. 4, 2020; 1:21 AM

[Also, see more recently-posted companion story below]

Two proposed Local Laws that would have denied Enfield voters the right to elect their Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent went down in flames Tuesday, Election Day, as Enfield’s electorate also showed their preference for President Donald Trump and other candidates on the Republican ticket.

The signs that signaled a landslide

Machine votes cast at Enfield’s same-day election site and also through early voting indicate that the proposal to make the office of Town Clerk appointive, rather than elective, lost 1097 votes to 203.  The proposed law to similarly transition the office of Highway Superintendent to appointive lost by a combined early and same day vote margin of 1085 to 210.  The margins show that 84.4% of Enfield voters opposed making the Clerk’s post appointive; 83.8% opposed a similar change for the highway chief.

In each case, the margin of defeat would make it nearly impossible to reverse the outcome once absentee ballots are added to those tallied by machine.

Approximately 1070 voters cast ballots in same-day, in-person Enfield balloting.  When early votes are added in, the in-person Enfield turnout swells to about 1300.

Enfield winners included Republican Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Tom O’Mara, and State Assembly candidate Matthew McIntyre.   However, while Enfield voters favored the Republican candidates, Tompkins County voters, in total, supported the Democrats.

In the Presidential race, Enfield’s same-day machine tallies gave President Trump 591 votes (57.1%) to Joe Biden’s 444 (42.9%).  But with nearly 97 per cent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Biden led Trump throughout Tompkins County, 69.9 per cent to 27.5 per cent.

In the race for Congress, Republican Tom Reed beat Democrat Tracy Mitrano in Enfield, 571 votes (55.9%) to 451 (44.1%).  But within Tompkins County, constituting only a small, Democratic-leaning part of the 23rd Congressional District, Mitrano held the lead, 69.4 per cent to Reed’s 29.3 per cent.

In the 58th District State Senate race, Incumbent Republican Tom O’Mara bested challenger Leslie Danks Burke in Enfield, 571 votes (56.1%) to 447 (43.9%).  But for that portion of Tompkins County within the 58th District, Danks Burke led, 78.8 per cent to 21.1 per cent.

Most notably in the race to succeed Barbara Lifton in the New York State Assembly, a disappointment in Enfield for Democrat Anna Kelles was not mirrored county-wide.  Legislator Kelles secured a hefty 70.7 per cent of the same-day and early voting machine totals county-wide, outdistancing her little-known Republican/Libertarian opponent, Matthew McIntyre.  Nonetheless, in Enfield, Kelles trailed McIntyre, 443 votes (45.0%) to 541 (55.0%) in same-day voting.

Anna Kelles, headed for the State Assembly. (Anna’s the one on your left.)

Since Tompkins County voters heavily dominate the 128th Assembly District that Kelles would represent, the Tompkins County win effectively seals for the Ithaca lawmaker her victory.

[Other than in the Enfield ballot races, a combination of same-day and early voting totals within Enfield alone was not available at the time this story was updated.]

One cannot avoid drawing the conclusion that aside from the ballot referenda, Donald Trump supporters generally cast straight party-line votes, as did those favoring Biden.

Final tallies of Enfield’s voting must still await the Board of Elections counting of as many as 400 or more absentee ballots which will supplement the machine tallies.  A Democratic Party source has reported that as many as 476 absentee ballots have been requested by Enfield residents, with at least 335 of those absentee forms already returned.  If postmarked by Election Day, the absentee ballots can be processed if received through the mail by November 10th.


The two proposed Local Laws which this year generated the most Enfield controversy—and comprised the only local contest exclusive to Enfield—began in April when former Supervisor Beth McGee proposed the initiatives of ending the long-held practice of subjecting the offices of Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent to biennial election.  Instead, she would have the Town Board appoint those officials. 

Sprung upon some Town Board members by surprise, McGee persuaded a majority of the Town Board to advance her  measures to a July Public Hearing and eventually to the General Election referendum.

“These proposals are offered based on requests from residents over the last two years, as well as Town Board discussions last year, and comments by candidates during the last elections,” McGee said at the time, seeking to justify her April submission. 

Initially, the Supervisor had suggested alternative options, one of which would have cut short the Clerk’s and Highway Superintendent’s current two-year terms at their mid-point, ending them this December 31st.  However, McGee later withdrew her more radical alternatives and settled on the choice eventually submitted to the voters; a plan that would replace the elected offices with appointive positions beginning in January 2022.

McGee had also suggested—then withdrew without explanation—a companion measure that would have extended Supervisor’s terms from two years to four.  The current, but now vacant, position of Enfield Supervisor next goes before the voters in November 2021.

At a Public Hearing July 22nd, the proposed elimination of the two elective offices faced a stiff public headwind, with at least 15 Enfield residents urging the Town Board not to change the nature of the offices.  Moreover, all but one of the hearing’s participants advised the Board not even to place the proposed changes on the ballot.

Nevertheless, the Board’s majority voted three-to-one (with one member excused) to place the twin local laws onto the November ballot.  Only Councilperson Robert Lynch (this writer) opposed advancing the initiatives, Lynch indicating that the people had spoken and that each of the proposed laws should be deep-sixed.

Board members at the time drew decidedly different conclusions from the hearing testimony:

“I feel the residents have clearly said they want a choice.  So here’s your choice,” argued Councilperson Stephanie Redmond, now Acting Supervisor.

“I’ve heard resoundingly almost to a person that they want the choice.  They want to choose.  They want to be able to have their voices heard,” said Councilperson Mimi Mehaffey, who resigned the Board in October, having never indicated how she’d vote in November.

“I wonder if you heard the same hearing that I heard tonight,” Lynch countered.  “Public Hearings have a purpose.  And the purpose tonight was for people to say they don’t want the change.  So why bother?”

Lynch said that in light of the Board’s action, ignoring public sentiment, “a cynical public is going to say that these Public Hearings were farces.”  He also forecast that the controversy pitting elected versus appointed positions could “tear this town apart.”

Predictably, incumbent Town Clerk Ellen Woods and Highway Superintendent Barry (Buddy) Rollins spoke out against the proposed changes.  Woods told the July hearing that in her opinion, the Board’s majority had declared “open season on myself and the Highway Superintendent.”  Woods further asserted that the twin measures would be found “unpassable,” as they had earlier when neighboring Ulysses’ voters rejected similar changes.

Following the July decision to place the referenda on the ballot, grass roots efforts sprung up to oppose them.  Opponents coined the phrase “Keep Enfield Elected” and printed two versions of yard signs advancing their cause.  Meanwhile, Councilperson Lynch formed the Ballot Issue Committee “Let Democracy Breathe,” and loaned the cause his personal funds to generate palm cards and a website that he designed.

In the weeks preceding the election, Lynch, Rollins, Woods and others went door to door distributing their paraphernalia.  No comparable electioneering effort was in evidence by supporters of the ballot measures.


And also this:

A Tale of Two (or More) Counties

Local races again make Tompkins a blue oasis in a sea of red

by Robert Lynch, November 4, 2020; updated at 8:27 PM

Tompkins County legislator Anna Kelles will likely be heading to the New York State Assembly thanks to strong support by her home county’s electorate.

State Assembly front-runner Anna Kelles

But Kelles failed to win the same-day and early vote of those in neighboring Cortland County, a portion of which comprises the balance of the 125th State Assembly District.

Unofficial results posted late Wednesday morning by the New York State Board of Elections—tallies which must be tempered by the fact that they have yet to include the flood of absentee ballots submitted in this year’s elections—place Democrat Kelles ahead District-wide by a wide margin of nearly two-to-one.  District-wide, the machine totals award Kelles 24,836 votes (65.2%) to Republican/Libertarian Matthew McIntyre’s 13,284 (34.8%), the percentages ignoring voided ballots and a smattering of write-in choices.

In her home Tompkins County, the Democratic nominee bested McIntyre 2.4-to-one, 20,839 votes (70.8%) to McIntyre’s 8,589 (29.1%).  But on McIntyre’s home turf, the more conservative Cortland County, the Republican candidate gained ground, securing an eight-point advantage over Kelles, 54 per cent to Kelles’ 46 per cent (4,695 votes to 3,997).

At mid-afternoon Wednesday, Kelles released a message thanking her campaign volunteers.  Stopping short of declaring victory, the Ithaca lawmaker said:

“The election has not been officially called so I am not making a public statement but we are tracking at 60% of the votes in an election year where absentee ballots are leaning heavily blue.”

Yet sensing the likely outcome, Kelles continued:  “So, the journey and adventure is just beginning and I promise you that the next 7 weeks I will be digging deep and learning everything I possibly can to hit the ground running!”

McIntyre has not issued any known statement on the election that has been shared on his website or with media outlets.

Any official statement of victory or concession may wait out the counting of absentee ballots, which can legally be received by their respective county’s Board of Elections until November 10th.  Absentee ballot counting frequently does not commence until after the mail-in deadline has passed.

Same-day machine totals within the Town of Enfield, their margins similar to those in Cortland County, provided McIntyre the advantage 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Congress: In other high-profile local races, the blue-red divide between Ithaca-centric Tompkins County and the more Trump-leaning outlying jurisdictions was also evident.  For Congress, machine totals showed Democrat Tracy Mitrano again coming up short—for this, the second time—District-wide and in each of the ten other counties in the sprawling 23rd Congressional District.

District-wide, Republican Incumbent Tom Reed garnered a comfortable machine-count lead, 63.0 per cent to 35.8 per cent (160,131 votes to 90,959; a Libertarian candidate, Andrew Kolstee securing the remaining one per cent). 

But only in Tompkins County did Mitrano win a majority, and it was a wide one.  The former Ithaca Democrat, now a resident of Yates County, earned more than 69 per cent of the Tompkins vote (21,047 ballots) compared to Reed’s mere 29 per cent (8,883).

The closest Mitrano came to Reed in any other county was in that part of Ontario County that includes the City of Geneva.  But even there, Mitrano couldn’t top 40 per cent.

Compare Tompkins to the bright-red western rural counties of the 23rd District.  In Allegany County, Reed chalked up his widest margin, 75.5 per cent to Mitrano’s 23.3 per cent.

State Senate: The 58th District State Senate race similarly demonstrated the political divide that falls somewhere beyond the Ithaca city line.

The 58th District spans five counties in whole or in part.  Republican incumbent Tom O’Mara made a pitiful showing in Tompkins County, earning just 21.1 per cent of the valid, machine-cast same-day or early vote. Democratic challenger Leslie Danks Burke won 78.9 per cent.  But that was her best showing anywhere.  District-wide, O’Mara took the lead, 61.6 per cent (61,743 votes) to Danks Burke’s 38.4 per cent (38,561). 

Indeed, a full 32 per cent of the votes Danks Burke secured in machine-cast balloting she earned from Tompkins County.  And while the 58th District includes the City and Town of Ithaca, it doesn’t include some of the county’s other liberal-leaning population centers, Dryden or Lansing.

As of Wednesday morning, when interviewed on radio, Danks Burke had not conceded the race, choosing to wait out the counting of absentee ballots.  During an election night interview, Danks Burke told an Elmira TV station (WETM):  “This is a neck and neck race. This is going to be very tight. We are not going to see any final outcome this evening. The only thing we’re going to see this evening, are the people who have chosen to vote in person.”


Since release of the unofficial county-wide tallies late Tuesday night, one persistent question has boggled the minds of election officials:  What about those two missing districts?

Both Tompkins County’s and the State’s machine results show only 61 of the county’s 63 election districts reporting.  Are there uncounted votes somewhere?  And if so, where are they?

“I think we got all the votes tallied,” said County Democratic Elections Commissioner Stephen Dewitt Wednesday afternoon.  Dewitt believes the same-day and early-vote totals released Election Night are complete, except, of course, for the yet-to-be counted absentees.  But Dewitt remains at a loss to explain the district number discrepancy.  He suspects it may have arisen because his department consolidated a couple of elections districts earlier this year, in part, to economize on staff in the face of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Dewitt reported as many as 11,700 absentee ballots are already in hand, waiting to be counted.  He cautioned the counting will not begin until November 10th, the legal deadline for their mailed receipt. The commissioner predicted counting could take approximately three days to complete.