Ballot Counting Begins In Ulster County DA Race

Nov 18, 2019

Absentee-ballot counting began Monday in Ulster County in a race where three votes separated the candidates following Election Day.

The contest for Ulster County district attorney is at least a week away from being decided. Ulster County Republican chief assistant district attorney Michael Kavanagh is running against Democrat Dave Clegg, a criminal defense attorney who chairs the county’s Human Rights Commission. Kavanagh hopes to succeed his boss, Holley Carnright, who is retiring. The plan was for the county Board of Elections to count absentee and paper ballots from about three legislative districts per day, with 23 districts to count. Clegg was at the Board of Elections for several hours Monday.

“When I left, I was up by one vote,” Clegg says.

Kavanagh did not return a request for comment in time for this broadcast. Again, Clegg

“We’re early in, and I think it’s going to be up and down throughout this process.” Clegg says.

The Board of Elections was counting 379 ballots Monday from Legislative Districts 1, 2 and 3. Election officials will be counting 1,919 more through Monday, November 25.

On election night, the race for DA was left hanging, along with some other Ulster County races, when a medical emergency at the county Board of Elections halted the ballot counting, which resumed the next morning. Dave Clegg:

“There are objections being made about affidavit ballots and potentially some other ballots,” says Clegg. “So those will be addressed by the court after we finish counting.”

He says, so far, Kavanagh’s campaign has nine objections and Clegg has one.

“It’s different affidavits. Maybe somebody didn’t check a box or somebody’s signature looked a little different or, we don’t have, it’s just…” says Clegg. “Mostly incomplete is the argument, so it’s a question of what was the intent of the voter, and that’ll be decided by the judge.”

Depending upon how the judge rules, whether there are appeals and where the race stands in a week, the outcome could be further delayed. Across the Hudson River, another district attorney race is also awaiting resolution. Absentee ballot counting in the Dutchess DA race is scheduled to begin Tuesday, where there are also a few thousand absentee ballots to be tabulated. Longtime incumbent William Grady, a Republican, was leading Democrat Richard Berube by 814 votes, or 50.60 percent to 49.38 percent.