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Onondaga County Counts About Half of Remaining Absentee Ballots on First Day Back

About half of the remaining 30,000 remaining absentee ballots in Onondaga County were reviewed and scanned Monday as the board of elections resumed counting after a two-week delay.  The process was halted after about a dozen cases of COVID-19 among employees paused operations four days after it began. 

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says now everyone’s healthy and back to work.

“Election professionals live to get the count done. We were like NASCAR drivers on a rain delay. We were going at 100 miles per hour and then we had to stop abruptly and wait two weeks so we’re just ready to get back at it.”

Republican Commissioner Michele Sardo agreed.  

“It’s good to have everybody back, it’s good to get it started again and hopefully this will be done by the end of the week.”

But that might be closer to mid-week given the larger than expected number of ballots processed on Monday.  Sardo says they’ve taken additional safety measures, including fewer people in the counting rooms, plexiglass shields at each table, and face shields for elections workers in addition to masks.  Commissioner Czarny expected the process to move faster this time.

We have a lot less people here, that means less time at a table for a ballot, a lot less eyes that have to look at it. We really feel it’s going to speed up the process really well.”

There has not been as many objections this time around that there were a couple weeks ago when we first started the process," said Sardo.

In one of the races that hinge on the results of the ballot count, Democrat John Mannion Monday afternoon claimed victory over Angi Renna in the 50th senate district.  But thousands of ballots still have to be counted, and the Board hasn’t called the race.   Also undetermined is the 127th assembly district race between incumbent Al Stirpe and republican challenger Mark Venesky, as well as a county family court seat.


The Republican campaign in the 22nd Congressional District race is optimistic after new developments on Sunday.  The campaigns of Claudia Tenney and Anthony Brindisi are caught between a nail biter of a decision to be determined by a State Supreme Court Justice.  As Tenney’s campaign explains in a statement the Brindisi campaign filed a court notice on Sunday after a discussion with the Herkimer County Elections Commissioner.  Revised tallies there resulted in Tenney pulling ahead with just 13 votes. Both campaigns say they want votes to count and both are expressing they will be victorious in the end. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at