Rensselaerville justice election race up in the air until end of the month

Enterprise file photo — Marcello Iaia           

Richard Tollner

RENSSELAERVILLE — Just nine votes separates incumbent Democratic Rensselaerville Justice Gregory Bischoff from his opponent, Republican Richard Tollner, as the Albany County Board of Elections waits to hear back from voters who have been given the chance to cure their absentee ballots

Ballot curing refers to the process of correcting any errors that would otherwise disqualify a ballot, such as a significantly mismatched signature or some issue with the envelope. 

A board of elections employee told The Enterprise this week that the board will update the totals for that race in one sweep once the final deadline for cures has passed, by the end of November. Each voter with a ballot to cure is given a different deadline, he explained. 

Although the employee said he didn’t know the exact number of ballots to be cured in the Rensselaerville race, he said it “wasn’t significant.” 

“It’s not like 100 ballots or anything like that,” he said. 

But in such a close race, each vote will count, as Tollner had acknowledged to The Enterprise on Election Night, when results were still unofficial and the gap was even smaller.

Bischoff was first elected as town justice in 2012, ending his term in 2016 before being appointed to the position in 2019 following the death of Justice Ronald Bates. Bischoff ran for election that year and was endorsed by both parties. 

Tollner has been the leader of the Republican party and formerly was the town’s assessor and deputy supervisor.

When reached last week, Tollner suggested that he has come to terms with the current official results. In fact, he had told the board — which is required by New York State Election Law to recount votes when the margin of victory is 20 or less — not to bother because “you don’t want to get into office on a technicality or any odd means.”

“I just want to thank everybody that did come out to vote because a lot of people came out to voice their opinions, and I think that’s the best part about voting,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the next go-around, and I’ll be out there again.” 

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