Turnout light for N.Y. primary, absentee ballots to be counted this week

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HOOSICK, N.Y. — Turnout was light for the New York state primary in both Rensselaer and Washington Counties on Tuesday, with only one major challenge.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, won in both counties handily, taking 63 percent of the vote in Rensselaer County. In Washington County, he had 482 votes, well ahead of Bernie Sanders' 192 and Elizabeth Warren's 38.

Back in April at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to cancel the primary, but less than a week later, a judge ruled that the primary needed to be held. Then on June 7, Cuomo expanded the absentee and mail-in voting to allow ballots to be postmarked by Tuesday.

The only contested primary was a Republican contest in the 19th Congressional District, which includes most of Rensselaer County. Ola Hawatmeh led over challenger Kyle Van De Water, 5,502-5,037, but with absentee ballots still to be counted starting June 30, the race remained undecided.

Whoever wins the spot will challenge incumbent Democrat Antonio Delgado in November.

But some people decided to go to the polls anyway. On Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., about 100 people had gone to the Armory, which was the only polling place in Hoosick Falls due to the pandemic.

"At the county, they have a lot of mail-in voting and we have early voting, so they have thousands of ballots [at the county]," said poll worker Cindy Mattison. "We've been following all the protocols — social distancing, sterilizing the voting booths between voters and wearing masks all day. It's a big building, so we have the room to host it."

     

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