If the Buffalo mayor’s race is close, we might not know the winner for weeks

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There is a good chance that we may not know who won the Buffalo mayor’s race until two or three weeks after Election Day. That’s because the actual write-in votes cannot be examined until at least 10 days later, when all of the military and absentee votes are in.

Ralph Mohr, the Republican commissioner for the Erie County Board of Elections is predicting voter turnout to be between 60-70% in the Buffalo mayor’s race. If that’s the case, and if Byron Brown were to get about half of the vote in his write-in campaign, it would mean elections workers will have to count about 50,000 votes one by one.

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“Unless this is a real blowout of one kind or another, we want to be careful about really declaring victory because we won’t know who those write-ins are until we count them,” said Jeremy Zellner, the Democratic commissioner for the Board of Elections.

Zellner also confirmed to News 4 on Wednesday that they will count a write-in vote even if the write-in bubble is not filled in, as long as it’s in the correct column and says “Brown” or even just “Byron.”

“So, whether the write-in bubble is filled in or not – we prefer that it’s filled in because that assists us on election night to determine whether a write-in has been cast or not – it is still not critical to the counting of that ballot,” said Mohr.

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The elections commissioners say they are likely to have at least five different tables of elections inspectors sorting through the write-in votes if there is the potential for Byron Brown to win.

“It’s all done in a bipartisan fashion,” Zellner said. “The ballots are kept locked up by two keys, one Republican and one Democrat, everyday. We really have a lot of fail safes that the public should be confident in what we’re doing here.”

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