Watertown lawmakers ask for top three mayoral candidates to be on November ballot

Watertown city council weighs in on mayoral race

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown city council members say all three top vote-getters in last month's mayoral primary should be on the ballot in November, but elections officials say they need a judge's ruling to move forward.

On Monday night, council members asked the Jefferson County Board of Elections to put tied mayoral candidates Cody Horbaz and Allison Crossman on November's ballot, along with top vote-getter Jeff Smith.

City officials drafted the resolution after being advised by city attorney Robert Slye.

"You're elected to represent all the people in the city," he said. "You're the only body who represent the electorate and you have the opportunity to at least express your opinion, I think opinions are still allowed to the board of elections. That is all this resolution attempts to do -- it attempts to state in the opinion of this council the law is clear."

The resolution passed, but Jefferson County Republican elections commissioner Jude Seymour says the race will remain at a standstill until one of the candidates brings the issue to court.

"If the council wants to express it's opinion, Mr. Slye is absolutely correct, you haven't lost your right to an opinion," Seymour said. "It's just another opinion that is added to the multitude of opinions I have received. We need an independent arbitrator to decide this for us, so we can take this ruling and apply it in future years."

Seymour and Democratic elections commissioner Babette Hall sent a letter to the city clerk on July 5 saying that if no outside legal intervention was taken, no candidates would be would be certified.

"I do not want to certify zero people, okay, so we have to have some resolution and I've always said it's going to come through judicial intervention and I'm just waiting for it to happen," Seymour said.

All three mayoral candidates were at the council meeting and say all three of them should be on the ballot.

Horbaz, who currently serves on the city council, recused himself from Monday’s vote and says he still thinks there should be a hand recount of the ballots.

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