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It’s a tie! Horbacz and Crossman each have 598 votes

Updated: Jul. 1, 2019 at 6:29 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - We still don’t know who will face Jeff Smith in the race for mayor of Watertown.

When the primary election was over last Tuesday, Allison Crossman led Cody Horbacz by 14 votes.

The absentee ballots were counted Monday and Crossman and Horbacz now have 598 votes each - a tie.

Both candidates were there to watch the absentee votes counted.

“Worst case scenario was that it played out the way that it did, honestly, because we were really looking forward to today as the end to the unknown,” said Crossman.

“I laughed it off and said that’s statistically impossible and then they counted the votes and there was a tie,” said Horbacz.

Crossman, Horbacz, Smith, and Cliff Olney were vying for two ballot slots in November’s election for mayor.

Smith received the most votes with 773. Crossman had 566, Horbacz had 552, and Olney had 350.

Election officials counted the city’s 152 absentee ballots and 10 affidavits Monday afternoon.

Smith took of 64 votes.

Horbacz got 46 and Crossman received 32.

Olney got 16 votes. There was one vote for a write-in candidate.

It’s unclear what happens now that Horbacz and Crossman have tied.

Republican Jefferson County Elections Commissioner Jude Seymour says this is unprecedented, that they’re in uncharted territory.

“The provision for the city’s election law does not include anything in case of a tie so we’re in no man’s land here and we’re going to figure it out, we’re going to consult with the state and figure out what the best course of action is,” he said.

If he fails to garner enough votes, Horbacz will no longer be on the council after the end of the year. That’s when his four-year term ends.

Both elections officials and candidates say this is an example of why every vote counts.

“If one person, one more person had exercised their vote and voted for Cody or voted for Allison, then we would have a definitive answer today,” said Seymour.

“If you feel like your vote is not important, this is a testament to how important your vote really is," said Crossman.

“This will be a good case study for why it’s important to vote. How your vote does matter. One person can affect an entire election,” said Horbacz.

There’s the slim possibility more absentees could come in Tuesday, but they would have to be votes for either Crossman or Horbacz to make a difference.

The state board of elections is telling local elections officials the tie could result in Smith being the only person on the ballot; Smith was the leading vote-getter last Tuesday.

Or all three candidates could be on the ballot, or there could be a run-off election between Crossman and Horbacz. Local officials hope to know more Tuesday.

The absentee ballots did not affect the race for city council.

Of the eight candidates seeking four spots on the ballot, Sarah Compo, Jesse Roshia, Robert Schorr, and Patrick Hickey received enough votes in the primary.

In terms of absentee ballots, Compo received 116, Roshia 65, Schorr 30, Hickey 28.

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