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Tune into WAER this election season for comprehensive coverage of local and statewide races. It's the information you'll need to make educated decisions on the races that could have an impact on your life.

Onondaga County Absentee Ballots Still Arriving by Mail; Counting Could Take a Week or More

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James Corrigan
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WAER News

Absentee ballots are still arriving at the Onondaga County Board of Elections, and commissioners are preparing to spend more than a week counting them.  Democratic Commissioner Dustin Czarny reminds us that it’s normal to count ballots after the election because military voters have regularly sent in their ballots from overseas.

The county has received around 56,000 absentee ballots, and the counting will begin on Monday. Czarny says it could take a while.

“We will probably need all of next week- maybe the week after. It really depends on how slow the process goes because we have observers from the different campaigns that are close, and they can slow down our count pretty quickly.”

Czarny anticipates the absentees will lean towards democratic candidates because they’re favored with a two to one democratic registration. In Onondaga County, Joe Biden leads by about 8 points, which Czarny expects to grow. In the 24th congressional district, Republican Elections Commissioner Michelle Sardo says Congressman John Katko is currently in the lead. Sardo also believes it will take a full nine days to count absentees, and then can be added to the record turnout of votes that were cast at polls in the county.

“177,892 people voted election day and early voted. That does not include absentees.”

Voter registration in Onondaga County also broke records. Both County Elections Commissioners want to reassure the public that all votes count.        

“I believe all ballots should be counted no matter the race," said Democratic Commissioner Czarny.  "If they are legally casted absentee ballots, county and state election boards are obligated to count them and have them as part of their final tallies."

“All ballots should be counted," said Republican Commissioner Sardo.  "I know there are some reasonings that if people sign the ballots but they don’t fill in the circle then those are not read on the machines that they are scanned through,” Republican Commissioner Michelle Sardo said.

Sardo says in 2008 about 285,000 registration forms were submitted, compared to this year’s count of over 308,000. For those who voted by mail, you can track your absentee ballot status by going to OnVote.net.