Watertown’s tied mayoral race goes to court

wwny Watertown’s tied mayoral race goes to court

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The players were there. Lawyers, a candidate and the judge, hoping to resolve Watertown's tied mayoral race.

Allison Crossman and Cody Horbacz are tied for second place behind Jeff Smith. But with what some claim is an unclear city election law and the two elections commissioners disagreeing on how to move forward, it’s now ended up in State Supreme Court.

Watertown resident Sam Thomas filed the lawsuit, requesting all 3 candidates names appear on the ballot.

“This particular issue really kind of got into his craw. He’s like, I don’t understand. Why are the people of city of Watertown not being allowed to proceed with their election and have persons certified so that everybody could hope in November, so he stepped up,” said Bob Slye, Thomas’ lawyer.

It was exactly what Jefferson County elections commissioners hoped someone would do.

Republican Commissioner Jude Seymour has chosen to hire his own lawyer, Joe Burns. Democratic Commissioner Babette Hall is being represented by County Attorney David Pauslen.

“We’re looking for direction from the judge, we’re going to discuss what the alternatives may be to help enlighten the judge but not particularly advocate for any particular position,” said Paulsen.

Horbacz came to observe the court hearing. He says he won’t be getting a lawyer. Crossman’s lawyer John Ciampoli was conferenced in by phone. Smith was not represented.

Crossman’s lawyer is also seeking all three candidates on the ballot. Horbacz would still like to see the ballots recounted by hand, but whatever the outcome he wants a quick decision.

“I was hoping there would be some kind of resolution within the next couple of weeks; it doesn’t look like there’s going to be, which I don’t know how fair that is for the voter. They’re going to have less time to evaluate all the candidates,” said Horbacz.

No decisions were made Friday. In court, it was decided Thomas’ lawyer will clean up the court paperwork by next Friday.

The case will be back in court on August 7.

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