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What happened at the Columbia County Board of Elections?

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Columbia County voting results were not complete by 4 p.m. Friday.
November 8, 2019 05:33 pm

HUDSON — Questions remain about what happened on Election Night to cause results to be delayed by three days and perhaps longer.

Election results from 3,371 early voters, which could impact several local races, were not released as of press time Friday. Election officials said they were close to reaching a final tally Friday afternoon.

Early voting results were posted separately from Tuesday’s votes on the Columbia County Board of Elections’ website twice, on Tuesday and Wednesday, but were later taken down without explanation.

Columbia County Board of Elections officials did not answer questions Friday about what specifically caused the delay in releasing the results. But county election officials issued an apology to the voting public on its website:

“We know people are eager to get the results from the election, and all of us — staff and additional part time staff — are working as hard as we can to get those results to you. We have very strict controls over the counting and reporting processes, requiring bipartisan signoff each step along the way to ensure the integrity of the ballot count. This takes extra time, and it’s worth it to make sure we get it right.

“We’re sorry it’s taking longer than usual; we’re making steady progress and will release the results as soon as possible.”

Those results will not include the 1,200 absentees, which won’t be counted until Nov. 18.

It’s unclear if Columbia County’s election delays existed elsewhere in the state. The State Board of Elections did not return multiple calls for comment Friday.

Nearby, Dutchess County Republican Election Commissioner Erik J. Haight said the process was much like in years past even with the addition of early voting. There, early votes were secured in a bipartisan fashion, Haight said. The memory cards containing the votes were reviewed and posted on Election Night before Tuesday’s results were posted.

Early voting results appeared on the Dutchess County Board of Elections website shortly after 9 p.m., Haight said. Election Day results, similar to years previous, were delivered by couriers on memory cards from all poll sites across the county. This year, electioneers were able to post full results by 11:30 p.m.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.