CHARTER APPEARS HEADED TO DEFEAT
Unofficial results: ‘No’ votes lead by 10
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » After the Saratoga County Board of Elections counted over 500 absentee ballots Tuesday, it appears a slim majority of voters in Saratoga Springs decided to keep the current form of city government.
The unofficial results of the charter referendum for Saratoga Springs show 4,458 voted against the proposed charter for Saratoga Springs, while 4,448 voted to adopt the council-manager form of government — just a 10-vote difference in the contentious race.
There are not many votes that remain to be counted.
The county sent out 18 military ballots that have to be returned by Nov. 20.
However, so far none have been returned.
Five ballots throughout the day were put aside and not included among the unofficial total. Officials said the reasons for that vary — for example, the ballots could contain stray marks.
Officials said the ballots will be set aside for three days. After that, the Board of Elections or a court judge will determine if the ballots should be counted, officials said.
“It was orderly. It was ex-
tremely well done by process,” said Richard Sellers, of SUCCESS, a group against the proposed charter. “People on all sides were respectful.”
The current charter, under the commission form of government, has an elected mayor and four elected commissioners who serve as members of the city council and supervisors of specific departments.
The proposed charter calls for a council-manager form of government, which would include a sevenmember council that solely acts in a legislative capacity, and an appointed city manager who would run the day-to-day operations of city hall. The proposed charter would go into effect January 2020.
“The charter proposal was a people’s campaign, and we had against us the leadership of both major political parties and the government of Saratoga Springs, and we got it to a draw, so I think there’s something there to be proud of, something to build on,” said Gordon Boyd, former treasure of the Charter Review Commission. “I hope that continuing to examine the validity of the ballots that have been cast might get us up on top, but certainly this is an issue that really engaged everyone in Saratoga Springs, and I think that’s something the community can be happy about.”
Now the city waits for an unknown amount of time.
“At the end of the process, it may take another couple of weeks, we will know a valid result is and I’m sure everybody will agree it was fairly counted. I have confidence,” said Boyd. “This is a good Board of Elections. They’re very open and transparent.”
Dozens watched as over 500 absentee ballots were counted Tuesday.
Early Tuesday morning in the room where absentee ballots were counted.
Absentee ballots were counted Tuesday at the county’s Board of Elections building.