UTICA, N.Y. – All absentee ballots have been counted, and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri has officially been re-elected for another term.
With absentee ballots included, Palmieri has received a total of 4,711 votes, while challenger Joe Marino received 4,243.
"We are declaring victory at this point. Another great four years for our city," said Mayor Palmieri, from his office at city hall, Wednesday afternoon. Marino, who brought a fierce challenge from the Independence line, after losing the Democratic primary to Palmieri in June, thanked county election commissioners and staff for their exhaustive efforts over the past week or so, but declined to be interviewed on camera. He posted on his facebook page, thanking supporters, saying, "we came up short this time."
The votes on Election Day were too close to officially declare a winner in the race, with only 237 votes separating Palmieri and Marino, who ran on the Independence line. On Nov. 5, Palmieri received 4,298 votes, and Marino received 4,061.
"Races are won by one or two votes. This was the difference, even though I had the lead, you never know what's going to happen with the absentees," said Palmieri.
Marino filed an injunction to preserve the absentee ballots until all parties could verify proper protocol was followed when collecting the ballots, including ballots by proxy.
Marino, Oneida County election commissioners Rose Grimaldi and Carolann Cardone, a county attorney and an attorney for Mayor Robert Palmieri, were in court Tuesday, Nov. 12 to determine the validity of the absentee ballot process.
All agreed to move forward with counting the ballots, showing 413 absentee votes for Palmieri and 182 votes for Marino.
The Republican candidate in the race, Matt Arcuri, received a total of 964 votes, with 103 coming from absentee ballots.
Some affidavit ballots were submitted by those whose names were not listed at their designated polling place. The Board of Elections is still counting those ballots.