Rochester, N.Y. --- It’s not over yet.
Judge John Ark decided in court Wednesday the Republican primary race for Livingston County District Attorney remains a tie.
Eric Schiener and Steve Sessler were tied coming out of the primary vote and during a review of the tally sheets and some absentee ballots the following week that tie remained and a court proceeding was scheduled for September 26th.
But in court on Wednesday October 3rd following a challenge from the Sessler campaign, two Board of Elections Commissioners stated that on September 21st they attempted to generate a spreadsheet of the results and thus accessed the tally sheets.
Under oath the GOP Election Commissioner acknowledged neither she nor her office had any knowledge that a judge’s order meant the tally sheets as well as the ballots were not to be touched.
During that process Commissioner Nancy Leven said she found that on the tally sheet for an election district in Avon was incorrect. Next to the number “5” that was circled as being Schiener’s vote total in that district was a sixth mark. On the 24th Leven brought this to the attention of the county’s attorney and a new tally sheet was created crediting Schiener with that extra vote.
That put Schiener up one vote before some contested absentee ballots were counted. The results of those ballots again tied the race.
"There is some question with regard to what went on here in the public eye,” Sessler said. “This has been described as fishy and more than merely coincidental and they want to know what's going on.”
The Livingston County Republican Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday at 7:30 p.m. to nominate either Sessler or Schiener as the party’s candidate for the November ballot.
On that note, Sessler’s lawyer raised questions about Commissioner Leven’s involvement as a Republican Party Committee member and her husband’s role as the North Dansville GOP Chairman. Both will have votes in Thursday’s nomination meeting.
"I was enraged, I was mad about that,” Schiener said in defense of Leven and the Democratic BOE Commissioner who also testified. “Here we have, calling into question and you heard it 43 years of experience working with election law, working with ballots, working with absentee ballots, and Mr. Sessler's team challenged that and is using terms like conspiracy and mystery and missing ballots, come on. These people are professionals through and through.”
"I have a lot of questions with regard to why things were done out of my presence," Sessler said. "The question that the committee has when they convene is whether or not they want a 3-way race or a 2-way race. That I the only question that they have and it is not my decision. My decision's been made, I'm going to run in November. I'll run on the Conservative line on November 6th.”
Should Schiener not gain his party’s nomination Thursday his name would not appear on the November ballot.
Democrat Greg McCaffrey appears three times on the November ballot as he is also the Independence Party and Working Families Party candidate.