Write-in candidates have a strong showing in the Hudson Valley. What it could mean for 2024.

Three races in the Hudson Valley saw robust numbers of voters seeking an alternative to the status quo, including one candidate who won, a race too close to call and a third who received thousands of votes on a countywide race.

Jonathan Gordon

Nov 9, 2023, 12:40 AM

Updated 156 days ago

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There were hundreds of candidates on ballots all across the Hudson Valley but it's the names that weren't making big splashes following Election Day.
Three races in the Hudson Valley saw robust numbers of voters seeking an alternative to the status quo, including one candidate who won, a race too close to call and a third who received thousands of votes on a countywide race.
Carmel Highway Superintendent write-in candidate Michael Stern pulled off a historic upset collecting roughly 56% of the total votes against Republican and Conservative Party nominee Gerard Ahler Jr.
"It truly took a community to make this happen, and I am very thankful to each and every one who came out to let their voice be heard," wrote Carmel Highway Superintendent-elect Michael Stern on his campaign website Wednesday morning.
In Harrison, the race is too close to call between Republican incumbent town supervisor Richard Dionisio (1,698 votes) and Democratic challenger Mark Jaffe (1,679) but the winner won't be able to be decided until all of the write-in ballots are counted for former town supervisor Ron Belmont.
"I got into this race to give you another choice. To give you the chance to vote for someone who has a proven track record managing this important office for years was encouraged to run by and endorsed by wide swaths of the community from both sides of the aisle, and someone who will always put the needs of the residents ahead of personal gain or power," wrote write-in candidate Ron Belmont on his Facebook page Tuesday evening.
Even in Rockland, attorney Theresa DiFalco, who joined the race against incumbent District Attorney Tom Walsh racked up 20% of the vote. Walsh, who received major backlash from first responders over a pair of plea deals without jail time to the two men who pleaded guilty to starting the fire that killed Spring Valley volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd in March 2021, had his name on the Democratic, Republican, and Conservative lines.
Dr. Gary Klein, who teaches American Presidency at SUNY Westchester Community College, said the growth of third-party candidates is something to watch for as voters eye the 2024 Presidential election.
"Just because a third-party candidate doesn't win doesn't mean that a third-party candidate can't influence the outcome of an election," said SUNY Westchester Community College American Presidency Professor Gary Klein.
Absentee ballots would have needed to be postmarked by Election Day, November 7, but can arrive at the local board of elections no later than November 14, according to state law. Counting is expected to begin on Friday.
Write-in ballots are likely to go through a curing process to ensure each one was filled in properly.


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