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Bill Owens goes to Washington: Reporting problems cause delay in election results


Andrew Henderson 11-07-2009

by Andrew Henderson


Oswego County is the most populated county within the 23rd Congressional District. Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman polled well in the county prior to the election, but Democrat Bill Owens appeared to close the gap on his way to his victory Tuesday night.


Problems with the reporting of numbers on election night led the Oswego County Board of Elections to remove the results from its web site Wednesday.


Prior to the county’s removal of the tally, results showed Owens receiving 500 votes less than Hoffman in Oswego County. Unofficial county totals posted 10,882 for Hoffman and 10,382 for Owens. Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who suspended her campaign days prior to the election and endorsed Owens, received 1,339 votes in the initial reporting.


At that time, the Oswego County Board of Elections reported that 115 of 124, or 93 percent, of the voting districts had reported their numbers.


Thursday, the board of elections reported that Hoffman received 12,748 votes compared to Owens’ 11,000 votes. Assemblywoman Scozzafava received 950 votes. These unofficial numbers include 100 percent of the districts in the county.


In his address to supporters in Plattsburgh, Owens said the voters of the district sent a loud and clear message. “When it comes to getting our economy moving again, to creating good-paying jobs for our workers, to ending tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas, and for making upstate New York a leader in producing clean energy, they put aside partisanship and declared they’re ready to move forward, not backward,” he said.


In Jefferson County, Owens topped Hoffman by 500 votes. He received 9,996 to Hoffman’s 9,439 votes. Assemblywoman Scozzafava received 1,155 votes.


Owens appears to have won the election in St. Lawrence County. He received 3,510 votes, or 56.5 percent, Hoffman received 2,432, or 39.1 percent while Assemblywoman Scozzafava received 274 votes, or 4.4 percent.


In Lewis County, Owens had 2,169 votes, Hoffman received 2,676, and Assemblywoman Scozzafava had 282. In Clinton County, Owens received 10,536 votes, Hoffman 7,530, and Assemblywoman Scozzafava 686.


In Franklin County, Owens received 4,655, Hoffman 4,108, and Assemblywoman Scozzafava 234 while in Madison County, Hoffman received 8,110, or 47.7 percent; Owens received 7,743, or 45.6 percent; and Assemblywoman Scozzafava received 1,128, or 6.6 percent.


In Oneida County, 22 of 23 districts had reported Election Night. Hoffman took this county with 2,779, or 53.8 percent, while Owens had 2,024, or 39.1 percent. Assemblywoman Scozzafava received 362, or 7.01 percent.


In Essex County, Owens took 50.76 percent (3,718 votes) while Hoffman received 43.34 percent (3,175) of the vote. Assemblywoman Scozzafava received 5.9 percent (432). Figures for Hamilton County were not readily available.


Voting machines in Fulton County have been impounded after it was determined the machines were not working property. The county was forced to switch over to paper ballots. The paper ballots are expected to be counted when the absentee ballots are opened this Tuesday.


In his address, Owens noted that upstate New York had not received this much attention since the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980 when the U.S. Olympic hockey team upset the Russian team in Lake Placid.


“Tonight with the entire country watching, upstate New Yorkers sent a message,” he said. “We came together tonight as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to seek solutions—to create jobs for our workers, to bring economic development back to our communities, to fight for Fort Drum, and to give all middle-class families in upstate New York a fair shake from Washington.”


Owens thanked the voters in the district. “You are the ones who proved that elections aren’t decided by pundits or polls,” said Owens. “You rejected the false attacks and the partisan divisions and decided that when it comes to confronting the challenges we face, we’re all in this together. Tonight’s victory is your victory.”


In addition, Owens thanked Democrat officials in Washington, including President Barack Obama, who held a fund-raiser on his behalf in New York City, and Vice President Joe Biden, who campaigned with Owens in Watertown.


“My thanks to President Obama for his extraordinary leadership for our country and his support for my campaign,” he said. “My thanks to Vice President Biden as well, who was here with me just yesterday. I look forward to working with our president and vice president to bring common-sense solutions to create jobs here and get our economy back on track.”


Later during his speech, Owens acknowledged Assemblywoman Scozzafava.


“I must give special thanks to Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava,” he said. “I was honored to earn the support of a great leader like her. She has always put the people of upstate New York before any partisan agenda. I share her commitment and I look forward to working with her to help the people of this district.


“Thank you to my friends in organized labor, who spread my message of creating jobs and opportunity for working people across upstate,” Owens continued. “I am grateful to all of the volunteers who gave their time to knock on doors, dial phones, and helped me spread the word about what’s at stake in this election.”


Before concluding his remarks, Owens laid out his goals as congressmen, including getting the economy back on track with good-paying jobs and investments in clean energy in upstate New York.


He said he will also work to protect dairy farmers, stating they are struggling because they are not getting a fair price for their milk, and said he will fight for health-care reform and Fort Drum.


“Our challenges aren’t Democratic or Republican,” said Owens. “They’re not liberal or conservative. They are American challenges that we will overcome with American resolve. The only way that we can create jobs and attract economic development to our communities is by bringing people of all parties together and giving everyone a seat at the table.”


Republicans, however, viewed Tuesday’s election as the first step to reclaiming control in Washington.


“The election in New York may provide a momentary victory for Democrats, but the results in two gubernatorial contests tell us more about what 2010 holds in store for the party in power,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions. “Despite the unusual circumstances in this race, if we have learned anything from these across-the-board results it is that independent voters are dissatisfied with the direction that Democrats are taking this country and moving away from them at a rapid pace.


“After two special elections in New York, there is no doubt in my mind that the candidate selection process lacks openness and transparency and should be changed to a primary system so voters can have a say in who their respective parties nominate,” he added. “What’s also clear is that the only meaningful split on display tonight is the growing gap between out-of-touch Democrat policies and the voters that will decide their fate in 2010.”



- Valley News