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Village of Poland's mayor chosen by write-in votes

The Village of Poland's mayor has been chosen by write-in votes because there were no candidates on the ballot.

Posted: Mar. 19, 2019 11:13 PM
Updated: Mar. 20, 2019 8:49 AM

POLAND, N.Y. - The Village of Poland's mayor has been chosen by write-in votes because there were no candidates on the ballot.

This current election is to replace Mayor Mary Paul, who is stepping down for personal reasons.

"Whoever gets the most write-in votes will become the mayor if they accept, if they decline, our two trustees will appoint someone," Brandie Guarno, the village clerk said.

If the election does come down to the village trustees appointing someone, that person could also decline, and the trustees would have to try again, ultimately until someone accepts the position. Guarno says this isn't something that happens often, but during her time as village clerk, she has seen this before.

"I've been clerk for about five years," Guarno said. "There was one election where we didn't have anybody on the ballot but we had a write in and it was successful and they accepted."

The village has a population of about 500 people and in order for someone to be come mayor, they must be 18 years or older, they must live in the village of Poland, and they have to be a registered voter.

Guarno says having nobody on the ballot can be concerning. 

"We just kind of get a little worried because somebody new can decide that us appointed employees, they may want to replace us and they don't need a reason, they can do that," Guarno said. "So you kind of get a little nervous if you don't know who's going to be your new boss."

Even though this has happened in other small towns and villages, Guarno thinks this may have happened because some people don't know about village elections.

"I don't think a lot of people are aware of village elections, especially new people coming into the village," Guarno said. "Since this story became popular, I've had several phone calls of people saying 'I want to be mayor, what do I have to do?' and I'm like 'I wish you would have said that a month ago.'"

The village did see a bigger voter turn out than expected.

Lance Bennett, a former mayor for the village of Poland won by 34 write-in votes, he has up to 30 days to accept or decline the position.

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