Officials address voting machine breakdown in wake of tied mayoral primary

Ballot for Watertown mayor primary
Ballot for Watertown mayor primary
Updated: Jul. 15, 2019 at 4:52 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A voting machine went down on Primary Day and likely will prompt questions about Watertown's tied-mayoral race.

However, Jefferson County Board of Elections commissioners stand by the results.

Officials said a machine at the Church of the Nazarene voting site wouldn’t accept ballots from 7:30 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. on primary night.

As the machine was being fixed, residents filled out their ballots and placed them into a locked compartment on the machine.

At the end of the night, the compartment was unlocked by 2 elections inspectors - one Republican and one Democrat - and all the ballots were then sent through the machine and the votes tallied.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Babette Hall said the entire process followed New York state election law and there’s no reason to question the results of the election.

Mayoral candidates Cody Horbacz and Allison Crossman are tied for second place behind top vote-getter Jeff Smith.

That stalemate has left the roster on the November ballot in limbo because the race is non-partisan and the election law doesn’t explain what to do in the event of a tie.

Over the last few weeks, a number of solutions have been proposed, from including all three candidate’s names on the ballot, to leaving the ballot blank.

Elections commissioners for Jefferson County have said it’s a matter that should be handled in court.

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