Smith: Allow three candidates on the November ballot

Smith: Allow three candidates on the November ballot
Watertown mayoral candidate Jeff Smith says he wants three names on the November ballot (Source: wwny)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The top vote-getter in last month’s Watertown mayoral primary says there should be three names on the November ballot.

In a press release Sunday night, Jeff Smith writes, “Although the Primary Election has traditionally been intended to reduce the field to two competitors, I fully welcome the opportunity to face two opponents.”

Smith walked away from the primary race with 837 votes, once absentee ballots were counted. Mayoral candidates Cody Horbacz and Allison Crossman are tied for second place with 598 votes each. 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.

The rarity of such election gridlock has garnered plenty of news headlines, and has plenty of people talking about the best course to take. Smith addresses that by writing:

“In recent weeks, I have listened to pundits, conspiracy theorists and others voice their opinions on how to best resolve this issue. In doing so, there has been much mudslinging and negativity—including a radio interview where the demeaning downstate attorney hired by one of my Primary opponents criticized our city and called people in Watertown “stupid.”It’s this kind of negativity that serves only to divide our community and distract taxpayers from the real issues we face as a city.”

Smith also writes that he doesn’t believe Jefferson County’s elections commissioners, republican Jude Seymour and democrat Babette Hall, are harboring hidden agendas when it comes to determining who’s included on November’s mayoral ballot. Smith writes, “They are doing their best to apply the nonpartisan election law.”

Smith says he’s looking forward to continuing his campaign, and thanked voters for their support.

An endorsement of the three-name ballot solution will be presented to Watertown City Council members Monday night, where a vote is expected. Horbacz will have to recuse himself from the vote, as he’s also running for mayor.

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