Absentee votes decide close races in Jay, Minerva
ELIZABTHTOWN – The Essex County Board of Elections counted absentee ballots Wednesday and determined winners in the close races for town of Jay tax collector race and town of Minerva supervisor.
Valerie Coolidge won the Jay tax collector race. She ended up with 409 votes after absentee ballots were counted, compared to 378 for Tina Fenton, county Election Commissioner Mark Whitney told the Enterprise.
On Election Night, Coolidge came away with 380 votes, and Fenton had 367. Seventy absentee ballots were sent out to Jay voters, and the Board of Elections had received 43 of those back by Election Day.
In Minerva, Stephen McNally unseated Sue Montgomery-Corey as supervisor by 17 votes. In the election night count he beat her by eight votes, but 37 absentee ballots had been sent out and 23 returned by that day.
After the absentee ballots were counted, McNally ended up with 209 votes and Montgomery-Corey with 192.
With that race finalized, it is certain that all four women currently serving on the Essex County Board of Supervisors have been removed after being unseated by male challengers. The new year will see the first male-only board since 1980.
One race is still in contention in the county. In Westport, a seat on the town council could see changes as Russell Paquette ended the absentee ballot count with 276 votes and Timothy Sherman got 271. Three military ballots could still be counted if they are received by Tuesday, and there are two absentee ballots that election officials decided not to open because they weren’t postmarked, a decision that Sherman challenged.
Election commissioners now have to wait three days to give Sherman time to decide whether to bring a lawsuit to force them to open those ballots.
All five of those outstanding ballots would need to be in favor of Sherman for him to win.
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