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Absentee ballots may decide City Council race

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Jose Peo, left, and LaShana Boose are in a tight race for the Democratic primary for Rochester City Council's Northwest District seat.

Monroe County Democratic Elections Commissioner Tom Ferrarese said he’s still counting ballots from Tuesday night’s primary races -- and will be until at least next Tuesday.

The combination of a low turnout and a close race means absentee ballots may matter more than usual. In the Democratic primary for the Northwest Rochester City Council seat, Jose Peo leads LaShana Boose by just 25 votes. 

“These are absentee ballots that were requested after we printed our poll books, for the most part,” said Ferrarese. 

Before validating absentee ballots, Ferrarese’s department must verify that those voters didn’t vote at polling places.

“People can request an absentee ballot, but if they happen to be in town, or they can get to the polling place, they can still go to the polling place instead. That’s their option,” said Ferrarese.

Ferrarese said absentee ballots are required to be counted within seven days of a primary. The postmark on those ballots must be before the primary was held. He says it’s impossible to know now whether these ballots will flip this race. 

“People have the tendency to vote for one race when they can vote for multiples, skip a race altogether, people have a tendency to do those things,” said Ferrarese. “So we don’t know anything about these until we open them up.”

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Ferrarese said he had received 17 additional absentee ballots and he expects more. 

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