Oneida County Election Commissioners respond to complaints, criticism of Primary

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The local newspaper is calling for their resignation, saying the governor should fire them if they refuse to quit. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says their orchestration of primary night in the county was unacceptable, referring most pointedly to untimely reporting of results.

On Thursday, Oneida County's election commissioners are responding to these allegations.

Republican Commissioner Pamela Mandryck and Democrat Commissioner Carolann Cardone both acknowledge that there were issues - issues they're currently addressing in anticipation of the general election. One of those problems: what is expected of poll-side coordinators.

"What we are going to modify that is we had poll-side coordinators, and I don't think the poll-side coordinators were entirely comfortable with what we needed from them. So what we're going to do is bring our poll-side coordinators back in and give them really critical training,' says Mandryck.

Cardone points out that the county had more races than most - 35 primaries and a special election. She adds that they are still getting the kinks out regarding the new ballot system of voting.

"Sometimes you don't know what needs to be fixed until it happens. Last year, we didn't do the call-in, because by state law, we're not supposed to. This year we did do a call in and it didn't work, I understand," says Cardone.

The commissioners says they started training election volunteers in January, but that any not confident in their ability of level of training are welcome to come back for a refresher course.

Picente's chief complaint was an untimely reporting of results.

On Thursday, two days after elections, the Utica Mayoral Primary on the Board of Elections website still showed only 39 of 51 precincts reporting.

Mandryck, however, says that those results might actually be complete. She says election inspectors didn't open and close out many machines that were not used, and that means their computers are still looking for those results...even though they amount to zero.

Both commissioners acknowledge that there is no such thing as a problem-free election, but add that they are confident that the major issues will be ironed out by November.

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