Vote Tally Error Adds to Maffei’s Lead in Congressional Race

A clerk’s election night typo in Cayuga County was fixed Wednesday, giving Democrat Dan Maffei an extra 2,000 vote margin in his bid to return to Congress.

Cayuga County Elections Commissioner Kate Lacey said a clerk mistyped the amount of votes cast for Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle in the town of Brutus.  Fixing the error and cleaning up a few other minor math issues resulted in a swing of 1,997 votes in Maffei’s direction, giving him an almost-unbeatable hold on the election.

The other three counties in the new 24th Congressional District — Onondaga, Oswego and Wayne — reported no changes to their Tuesday night vote tallies.

As a result, Maffei holds a lead of 12,604 over Buerkle.

Buerkle is pinning her hopes for a come-from-behind victory on the counting of absentee ballots and ballots cast by affidavit.

So far, more than 17,000 absentee ballots have been received in the four county district.  There could be that many, or more, affidavit votes, which are cast when a voter has moved and didn’t tell the Board of Elections about the move.

The rule of thumb is that absentee and affidavit ballots tend to mirror the election night vote. Buerkle would need to win an overwhelming majority of those absentee and affidavit votes in order to overtake Maffei’s solid lead.

“With so many ballots still to be recorded, it is important that we make sure there is an accurate counting of all votes,” Buerkle said in a statement Wednesday.

Maffei claimed a tentative victory on Tuesday and on Wednesday issued a statement claiming a complete victory. “I am honored that the people of Central New York have elected me to represent them in Congress. We have won an important victory for Central New York’s middle class. I am looking forward to working to fix our economy, create jobs, and rebuild our middle class,” he said.