Utica's mayoral race has gone from the ballot box to the courtroom, and, on Wednesday, final destination: the Oneida County Board of Elections. The race is too close to call, with 237 votes separating challenger, Joe Marino, and apparent winner, Mayor Robert Palmieri. There are 749 absentee ballots to be counted-more than enough to potentially sway the outcome of the race.
Candidate Joe Marino got an injunction, or, temporary restraining order, preserving the absentee ballots until all parties could be in State Supreme Court, in Rome, to determine if there were any issues Marino felt needed litigating. Marino, Oneida County Election Commissioners, Rose Grimaldi and Carolann Cardone, a county attorney and an attorney for Mayor Robert Palmieri, were in court Tuesday. Marino's attorney says Marino's issue was not with the ballots themselves, but, rather, the process by which absentee ballots were picked up for other people, by proxys.
"Today, the Oneida County Board of Elections, on behalf of Robert Pronteau, who is here, provided us with a complete, exhaustive list of everyone who picked up an absentee ballot application and/or delivered an absentee ballot to the board of elections. What I'm getting at is,we were able to look at that list and try and determine whether or not any irregularities reached a point where it could have affected the election or simply stated, were not proper. Upon receiving that list, we were satisifed that full disclosure was made by the board of elections regarding those who picked up absentee ballots by proxy, and it satisfied us," said Marino's attorney, Anthony LaFache.
Now, it's business as usual. Wednesday at 10am, the Board of Elections will begin opening ballots in the Utica mayoral race; regular ballots first, then, absentees. Each candidate and/or a representative will be at the board for the count.