St. Lawrence County elections board taking on ‘Herculean’ absentee ballot counting task
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
CANTON – The county Board of Elections is undertaking what one of their commissioners calls a “Herculean” task of mailing out and counting thousands of absentee ballots.
Republican Commissioner Tom Nichols and Democratic Commissioner Jennie Bacon updated the Board of Legislators Operations Committee during their Monday, Oct. 19 meeting.Bacon told the board that as of that afternoon, they had sent out 9,446 absentee ballots, compared to 3,567 in 2016. So far this year they’ve gotten back 5,888 absentee ballots, compared to a fraction of that four years ago, she said.
“Staff has been amazing … rolled with the punches, put in extra hours,” Nichols said. “Most people will never see the work they do behind the scenes.”
“It’s a great accomplishment by our entire staff,” Bacon said.
The commissioners also praised the Board of Legislators for working with the Board of Elections to ensure they have what they need to get all the absentee ballots sent out and counted once returned. Nichols said some other counties in the state aren’t giving their local elections officials the support that St. Lawrence County is.
“The work that’s going into this is Herculean. [County Administrator Ruth Doyle] has literally said ‘whatever you folks need, let us know,’” Nichols said. “You can’t put a dollar value on that.”
That support includes a resolution the Operations Committee passed to modify the Board of Elections budget for an additional $51,000 to pay for part-time staffers and supplies, which the commissioners said are what they need the most at this time.
The money comes from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which must be used to plan and carry out a safe and secure election process, according to the resolution. That will have to go in front of the full board in early November to be made official.
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