On Tuesday, Sept. 10, voters cast their ballots in the primary election for Livingston County’s next sheriff. The race is between Undersheriff Jim Szczesniak and criminal investigator Tom Dougherty. According to the Livingston County News, Dougherty received 3,926 votes to Szczesniak’s 3,796, or 50.89 percent in the Republican primary.
This is not enough to declare a new sheriff yet. In the Conservative primary, Szczesniak is ahead by one vote, receiving 159 votes to Dougherty’s 158, or 50 percent to 49.69 percent.
“If someone had won both the republican and conservative primary they would win, but because it is so close we have to wait and count the absentee ballots,” Szczesniak explained in a phone interview.
According to Szczesniak, absentee ballots will be coming in until Monday and will then need to be counted before the new sheriff can be determined.
With the election results being pushed back, Szczesniak said his main objective is focusing on the upcoming week.
“Clearly this week we’re going to focus on the results and where to go forward from here will have to wait until then,” he said. “My main concern is to make sure I’m going to secure a position on the ballot.”
Whoever wins will serve a four year term that will begin on Jan. 1, 2014 and will succeed current sheriff is John York.
“The voter turnout was great. People realize the importance of the sheriff. This turnout was a record number for this community,” Szczesniak said.
According to the Livingston County News, at least 59 votes may have been misdirected from one party’s primary tally to the others, resulting in a miscount. This unearthing could force Livingston County to have a second primary election next month.
It appears that registered Republican voters were mistakenly given Conservative ballots. These votes were then included in the 159 to 158 Conservative tally where Szczesniak was in the lead.
Currently the Board of Elections is looking into the legal options before any decision regarding the proceeding of this election is made. According to the Livingston County News, the Board of Elections believes the number of misdirected ballots to be 59, although that may not be the exact number. υ