GLOVERSVILLE — Mayoral candidate Bill Rowback is still awaiting word from the county and state Republican Committees to see what the next steps will be in his campaign.
Rowback said on Wednesday that the committees, including Fulton County Republican Committee Chairwoman Sue McNeil, are still working to see if a recount will be asked for of the Nov. 7 mayoral election results.
The unofficial results on election night showed Rowback as winning over incumbent Dayton King. On Monday though, it was announced King had a 28-vote lead over Rowback following an incorrect reporting of results from Wards 3 and 5 in the city.
“Whatever Sue and the committee feel I should do, I will,” Rowback said.
McNeil said this morning that the committees were researching its options and awaiting answers to questions it had in this case.
“I just want to make sure we are covering our bases. I don’t want to look back a year from now we don’t look back and say ‘Oh we should have done that,’” McNeil said. “It is the right thing to do as far as covering all of the options that are out there, because it is so close.”
McNeil said that with only 28 votes separating the two candidates she wants to make sure they are doing all they can. She said it was 100 or more votes it might be a different story, but the closeness of the vote means they need to investigate every channel.
This is the second time in two years this occurred. In 2015, unofficial results showed incumbent Ellen Anadio as the winner in the race for Fourth Ward Council. Ten days later, it was announced that Steven Smith had won the seat following checks of the results.
Republican Fulton County Election Commissioner Lee Hollenbeck explained the issue that occurred on election night to The Leader-Herald on Monday.
He said when the poll workers reported the results in Ward 3, the correct total for District 1 was read from the report that is generate by the voting machine at the end of the night. But when they reported in the results for Rowback in District 2, the tally of both Districts 1 and 2 was read instead, bypassing the tally for District 2 alone, leading to an incorrect tally.
In Ward 3, Rowback was initially reported to have 521. It was later discovered he had 253.
Hollenbeck said the incorrect tallies for both candidates were read in Ward 5, district 2. He said in that ward, Rowback was reported as having 405 votes when it was really 261; and for King was reported as having 384, when it was 316.
The unofficial results on election night showed Rowback has the winner with a vote of what was then 1,800 for Rowback to King’s then tally of 1,490. When the errors were discovered the total changed to King having 1,516 to Rowback’s 1,488.
Rowback said on Wednesday that he plans to contact the board of elections next week to discuss the matter with them.
“Why did it take 13 days for this to come out?” Rowback said. “Everyone who has called me since Monday has said ‘How could this happen?”
Rowback said he also may contact the county’s attorney Jason Brott or the state Attorney General’s office to get a detailed accounting of what happened and where the machines were from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20.
“Just so we can get how this happened,” Rowback said.
He said he has heard from many people that they are concerned and confused about the results. He said he is trying to figure out what happened.
McNeil said she has heard the board of elections is looking at a number of options going forward. She said she would support any changes they decided to make.
Rowback said he would be ok with waiting longer before unofficial results were read or have them double or triple checked the night of.
“For me, since Feb. 8, I’ve been doing this. So what is another few hours? What’s another day and a half?” Rowback said.
Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]