Election officials query Rathbone results

Mary Perham

Steuben County Board of Elections officials are questioning absentee ballots filed in the Nov. 8 Town of Rathbone election.

County Election Commissioners Republican Veronica Olin and Democrat Joseph Welch said Thursday they have spoken to the authorities about their concerns and expect some action to be taken.

The commissioners declined to comment on what their specific concerns are, saying that could impede any investigation into the matter.

They also declined to say how many ballots are under scrutiny.

Races in the small town of Town of Rathbone garnered attention two weeks ago, after 97 absentee ballots were filed with the Board of Elections – roughly four times the number typically filed in the town.

Of note was the race between incumbent Town Supervisor Bill Reagan and Steuben County Legislator Dan Farrand. Farrand, who secured the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines trailed Reagan after the polls closed Nov. 8 124-113. Reagan ran on the Square Deal independent line.

However, 94 of absentee ballots opened last week favored Farrand, and gave him an unofficial 85-vote lead over Reagan, 212-127.

Question were raised earlier by Town Highway Superintendent Dan Barney, who said the high number of ballots was suspicious.

Barney, who held a 156-vote lead for his position held off an absentee challenger by 10 votes.

As more information becomes available on this issue, it will be posted at www.steubencourier.com.