UTICA, N.Y. -- The challenger in Utica's too-close-to-call mayoral race is making legal moves to ensure the integrity of the opening and counting of roughly 1,150 absentee ballots in the city.
"I don't trust the process as it played out the last time. It's not sour grapes. I just want to make sure everything's fair so we're gonna file an injunction to make sure the absentee count goes smoothly and we're gonna do that with a judge," says Joe Marino.
Marino hopes to file an injunction as soon as Thursday. For Mayor Palmieri, the day after Election Day means a quality of life sweep, like every other Wednesday, weather permitting. This one, however, with an eye toward helping south Utica flood victims, living along the Sauquoit Creek.
"There's some elderly people that are in this area. The sidewalks are still filled with mud, the curbs are still filled with mud, they're traipsing through their houses with mud. We're trying to do everything in our power to bring it back to normal as much as possible," said Palmieri, shovel in hand, Wednesday afternoon.
Marino stresses; his objective is not changing the outcome of the race, but, rather, ensuring a proper and legitimate one.
"So we're just gonna make sure we get a fair shake. If we lose the campaign, we hold our heads high and make sure everyone knows we fought for them and the city of Utica. But we want to make sur ethe process is fair across the board," says Marino.
It's not clear when the process of opening and counting absentee ballots might begin in front of a judge. Marino trails Palmieri by 237 votes; the Oneida County Board of Elections sent out roughly 1150 absentee ballots, and, as of Tuesday, had received 724. They can accept them for seven days after the race, as long as they're postmarked by the day before the election.