Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Manor election tally delayed as paper ballots counted. Dems say they held lead Tuesday night.

Luft: Voting machines not set to handle absentee, mail ballots in race for two village board seats

After votes couldn’t be counted Tuesday night in the contest for four Village of Pelham Manor trustee seats, Village Manager and Clerk Lindsey Luft was working with the Westchester Board of Elections on Wednesday on the official tally.

Pelham Town Democratic Chairwoman Allison Frost said in a statement sent after midnight that her party’s two candidates Kate Pringle and Mark Cardwell “received more votes cast” on Tuesday than the incumbents. She also said there were irregularities in the count and noted the election hadn’t been certified.

Incumbent Republicans Breda Bennett and Maurice Owen-Michaane are running against the Democratic challengers.

Elections results were unavailable Tuesday night because ballots were getting jammed in a voting machine, according to our reporter at the polling place, the Pelham Manor Firehouse.

In an email sent to residents Wednesday morning, Luft said during the count it was found “the voting machines that are provided by Westchester County Board of Elections were not properly programmed to read the absentee/early mail ballots. The absentee/early mail ballots were prepared in collaboration with the county board of elections.”

Luft said she will continue working with county election officials on Wednesday to “ensure a full and proper count of the absentee/early mail ballots.”

“Once this is complete, an official final count of votes cast will be shared,” she said.

Pelham Manor runs its own elections, declining to use the free services of the Westchester Board of Elections, and the village named as chief election officer Luft, who as village manager and clerk was hired by and reports to the incumbent board of trustees.

Though results weren’t official or reported, Frost said in her statement at 12:39 a.m., “Kate Pringle and Mark Cardwell received more votes cast today than the incumbents did. We’re equally disappointed that a series of mishaps is standing in the way of certifying the results.”

“Unfortunately, the process is currently plagued by irregularities,” said Frost. “Hundreds of ballots have poured in at the last minute, many are absentee ballots. Some ballots have been disqualified, while others have been torn by malfunctioning machines. As of now, some ballots have been opened and counted, while others have not.”

At 10:54 p.m. Tuesday, a tech for the machines arrived at the firehouse, after a machine had been stuck for at least an hour. Then the count was discontinued.

During the tallying, Pelham Manor Democratic Chairwoman Toby Marxuah-Gusciora said it was illegal to open the voting machine, though she said election staff opened one that already had two ballots put through it.

At one point, election staff said they were trying to use the machine for the handicapped.

Overnight, the ballots were to be in the custody of an officer of the Pelham Manor Police Department, Luft said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Gabby Ahitow, Senior Editor
Gabby Ahitow is a senior at Pelham Memorial High School. She has been with the paper since it first started in 2018. Gabby has written for the Colonial Times, News of Pelham, PMS Post, and The Pel Mel. Besides writing, she plays the violin, soccer, and lacrosse for the high school, and participates in various clubs. She sails competitively outside of school. The Pelham Examiner has taught her so much and she looks forward to growing with the paper.
Phoebe Schwarz, Senior Editor
Phoebe Schwarz is a senior at the Harvey School. She loves to write and edit and has been involved in the yearbook production at school, where she has earned the role of co-editor-in-chief of the Harvey Yearbook. She is a member of the school's volleyball and lacrosse teams. She has enjoyed being a part of the Examiner since 2020, and can not wait to see what happens in her final year on the Examiner as Deputy Managing Editor!

Comments (6)

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  • C

    Christopher GanpatMar 20, 2024 at 12:41 pm

    In a perfect world things run perfectly, this is not a perfect world, as most of these comments seem to have the solution, but machines malfunction that is a fact. Even if everything went well there is always another perspective to say otherwise, everyone needs to look at the statistics of Pelham Manor, They are beyond awesome on every level compared to the rest of the country, gotta take a break on criticism and work harder on uniting this small village (not big city)… I do not see anyone making claims to unity and or proposing ideas relevant to what this village and the history of it stand for…It is not a matter of how did we get here, but a matter of where are we going and it is sustainable as the highly taxed municipality we always have been.

    • N

      Natali WindMar 20, 2024 at 8:42 pm

      Saying, “Oh well, not a perfect world.” is the answer when you accidentally spill wine on your blouse, not when it comes to something serious like elections. You say “beyond awesome on every level” and then go on to mention we’re highly taxed. I could list many things Pelham is not “beyond awesome” about, including those taxes. People criticize because they want Pelham to be the place they know it could be. And if you want “unity” then you should want an election we can all unite in agreeing was fair. Not necessarily the outcome desired by all, but fair. This was not it.

  • A

    Andy ScottMar 20, 2024 at 9:29 am

    Yet another reason the Village should not be running our own off-cycle elections. The town is wasting money, inconveniencing voters, and reducing turnout by not allowing the County to handle these elections in November.

  • D

    Dr. Warren GeislerMar 20, 2024 at 8:44 am

    In these uncertain times the election results should be scrapped and the election repeated in a week .

    • N

      Natali WindMar 20, 2024 at 8:33 pm

      Agreed, and any decent candidate would want that. If you’re so sure you won then don’t you believe you’d win again in a week? And if you’re not so sure then…

  • E

    Emily PauleyMar 20, 2024 at 4:22 am

    I hope this will finally show the village that we should focus on the tasks that are ours. Westchester county can and should run our election to give Manager Luft and the other staff the ability to focus on running our village. The time they spent is an unseen cost we can never get back.