EXCLUSIVE: JUSTICE RACE IN NEW WINDSOR IS A TIE
The Perfect Election Storm
By Edie Johnson
New Windsor’s closest contest in the memory of any local officials resulted in a controversy over one vote. At the end of the final vote count, including absentee ballots, sitting Judge Richard Thorpe was one vote ahead. That vote, however was contested on the basis that it was a write-in vote . County Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Susan Bahren told the Orange County Post at 2 pm today that “The New Windsor file is closed” and the determination was that the write-in vote must be , “as they call it ‘tossed'” because they are not allowed to count a write-in vote on a ballot that already has that individual’s name printed on the ballot. The first unofficial count after the election had candidate George J. Meyers slightly in the lead at 2624 votes vs. Thorpe’s 2595. But when the absentee ballots were counted everything changed. Bahren said “There is no more time for ballots to come in. The file has not yet been technically certified, but the file is closed.” There is, however, always the possibility of a legal challenge over that one ballot at the Supreme Court level.
What happens now? The determination of a winner is now left up to the New Windsor Town Board which has the opportunity to appoint the new Town Justice. That person will hold the post for one year, and next November another election will be held with the winner holding the post for the following 4 years (unless, of course, the unlikelihood of another tie occurs).
In a conversation with New Windsor Supervisor, George Green, this afternoon, Green exclaimed “I have been following and involved in area politics since 1973, and I have NEVER seen anything like this before.” Asked when he thinks his board will make a decision about who to appoint, Green said that he has already started talking to each board member, and he expects to hold an Executive Session about the matter at their Work Session in Mid December.
The Town Justice contest included three candidates and included Meyers, Thorpe and Noreen Calderin (whose re-election bid was not challenged). Thorpe has a lengthy career including 28 years as New Windsor Town Justice and legal education background. Meyers had a distinguished career in police and detective enforcement of over 26 years.