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Picente demands investigation into election results mess

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - High voter turnout and new voting machines spelled chaos to an extent in central New York for the first general election with the new voting machines.

The biggest problem: a seemingly eternal wait for results. In Oneida County, numbers were not released and therefore publicized until after 11 p.m. Tuesday night. County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. says the problems were not related to the new voting machines, which, by and large, worked fine.

"The issue was clearly a management issue; a conduct and performance of the board of elections and how at 9 p.m., when the polls closed, the process failed and it broke down," says Picente.

The county executive sent a letter to Board of Legislators Chairman Gerald Fiorini, demanding an investigation into what went wrong. Fiorini says the board's internal affairs committee is going to investigate. They won't get any answers right now from the election commissioners.

"I don't know if the inspectors just didn't want to stay...I'm not sure where the confusion is; we're going to have to piece it all out and see where it is," says Democratic Oneida County Election Commissioner Kathleen Perez.

In the meantime, the very appointments of the two Oneida County Election Commissioners are on the line. The board of legislators was supposed to vote to renew their two-year appointments at next week's board meeting. Fiorini put that on hold pending the outcome of the investigation into what held up the release of numbers on election night.

It was a frustrating night and morning for candidates involved in close races. Among them, Republican Oneida County Clerk Candidate Anthony Falchi.

"I just want some answers," said Falchi to a Board of Election official Wednesday morning.

Perez says it's too early to determine exactly what they're going to do differently next time around. But that there are definitely significant issues that need to be ironed out.

"It was a little later, waiting for the glitches, we're going to have to obviously revamp, take a look, and it's the first time so we're going to be trying to work things out, see what didn't work, and maybe we can come up with a compromise to get them earlier."

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