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3 Elmira City Council races head to recounts

Chemung County Board of Elections.
Natalie Abruzzo
Chemung County Board of Elections.

As of Wednesday, three Elmira City Council races were still too close to call. It was unclear whether the unofficial results from last week’s general election in Chemung County remained the same.

The Chemung County Board of Elections will head into a hand recount on Nov. 22.

According to Marcy Thompson, the county’s deputy Republican elections commissioner, they have not completed the write-in counts that are outstanding for four town races. But the agency determined that the Elmira City Council seats in districts 1, 2 and 4 will require a recount.

It is not immediately clear whether all absentee and affidavit ballots were counted.

Chemung County Democratic Committee Chair Jamal Malik said the party is hopeful about the results and it sets the stage for significant change in how the city is managed.

“There's an opportunity, an excellent opportunity to have a more two-way conversation as opposed to a one-way conversation,” said Malik. "And we're hoping very much that there'll be an atmosphere of cooperation on the Elmira City Council, and that needed changes can be made and that the future for the city of Elmira is looking very bright.”

Democratic candidates in districts 1, 2 and 4 are in the lead by slim margins.

In District 1, incumbent Democratic Councilmember Nick Grasso leads by less than 20 votes. In District 2, Democratic Councilmember Corey Cooke leads by less than 10 votes. And in District 4, Democrat Gary Brinn leads by one vote.

“The future of the city council is in the hands of a very few people,” said Malik. “I think it was like 17% of the eligible voters came out and voted. So, every vote counts, and it's important that people get engaged, civically get engaged, not just be registered to vote, but actually go out and vote and that's the message that needs to be crystal clear to everyone.”

Should these results stand, Democrats would flip the Republican majority currently on the city council.

Manual recounts for the city council seats will be held for the candidates at the county Board of Elections offices.