Three days after a town resident requested to impound ballots from the March 29 special election, officials are staying silent about what will happen next.
On Monday, Town Clerk Gail Wolanin Young did a recount and found errors in the tally sheets, she said earlier this week. Because of that, the $2 million stormwater management bond, which was voted down by six votes in the previous count, was approved by at least 75 votes, she said.
All eight bonds failed in the first count, and some residents are wondering why the recount was done.
"Who authorized the recount?" said Ed Wiatr of New Hartford, who has petitioned the Oneida County Board of Elections to impound the ballots.
Young has said the recount was done after she suspected there could be mistakes because the storm-water bond failed by just a small margin.
Let me recreate what apparently happened:
SCENE: Interior. Nighttime. GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG, Town Clerk, sits behind a desk illuminated by the only pool of light in a small office. A wall of voting machines fills the background. We hear a faint sound, the soft opening and closing of an ancient door with un-oiled hinges.
CLOSE UP, GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: Hello? Is anyone there?
MEDIUM SHOT, OVER GWY SHOULDER. We see a vague shadow moving on the other side of the office door's glass. The silhouette of a man in robes becomes clearer as he approaches.
MEDIUM SHOT, FROM DOOR TO GWY
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: Hello? Earle? Is that you?
MEDIUM SHOT, OVER GWY SHOULDER. The door slowly opens, but we can see that the figure it reveals isn't touching it. The figure steps into the room, still only a back-lit silhouette until the overhead light lets us see some details of his face. It is EMPEROR PALPATINE. Inside the pool of shadow created by the hood of his robe we can only see a pair of gleaming, bloodshot eyes and a faint smile. His skin is cracked and leathery, wrinkled by the ravages of age and the corruption of the Dark Side of the Force.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: No, I'm afraid it's not. Not tonight.
REACTION SHOT, GWY
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: I...I'm sorry, but the office is closed. If you're here for the bond results we'll have the official tally tomorrow morning. I..thought I'd locked the door.
MEDIUM SHOT, EMPEROR PALPATINE
EMPEROR PALPATINE: So you did. Your puny locks are no match for the power of the Dark Side!
EMPEROR PALPATINE gestures behind him. The door slams shut.
CLOSE UP, EMPEROR PALPATINE
EMPEROR PALPATINE: But I am here to discuss the results, my dear, dear friend.
CLOSE UP, GWY. A flash of fear crosses her face.
WIDE SHOT, GWY ON THE RIGHT, EMPEROR PALPATINE ON THE LEFT. He gestures towards GWY and her muscles suddenly relax. Her eyes are glassy and unfocused.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: It appears there were some mistakes with the initial counting of the ballots.
CLOSE UP, GWY. She looks vaguely surprised.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: Mistakes? (softly)
CLOSE UP, EMPEROR PALPATINE. A sly grin crosses his face as he focuses his will on GWY, bringing her totally under his domination.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: Yes. Some rather trivial errors that we will now correct.
RETURN TO WIDE SHOT OF GWY AND EMPEROR PALPATINE. With each line EMPEROR PALPATINE gestures at GWY.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: The vote was very, very close.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: The vote was very, very close. (under a trance, repeating EMPEROR PALPATINE's inflections)
EMPEROR PALPATINE: You should do a recount now, just to be sure.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: I should do a recount now, just to be sure.
CLOSE UP, GWY. The vague look of surprise crosses GWY's face again.
CLOSE UP, EMPEROR PALPATINE. He looks shocked.
RETURN TO WIDE SHOT.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: But...I can't do a recount on my own. (she smiles and speaks the next line as though she was a schoolgirl, proudly quoting a line from an election manual she's struggled to memorize). Democracy relies on the voting process being fair and open to scrutiny! Every part of the tallying process should have observers present!
SLOW ZOOM IN TO MEDIUM SHOT AS EMPEROR PALPATINE MOVES CLOSER TO GWY. Their faces fill the frame. EMPEROR PALPATINE is engraged. He focuses his will on GWY and crushes any hint of resistance.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: I am the only observer you need to worry about! You will do as I command and you will do it now... or I will squeeze your mind until it bursts like an over-ripe melon!
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG winces in pain.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: (calming) You will do as I command.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: I..will do as you command.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: The vote was very, very close and you need to do a recount.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: The vote was very, very close and I need to do a recount.
CAMERA BEGINS TO PULL BACK, UP AND OUT OF ROOM
EMPEROR PALPATINE: It would be easier to make sure the results are accurate if..there are no distractions. That is why you decided to do it this weekend, when no one was in the office. You just want to double check the results.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: I just want to double check the results.
EMPEROR PALPATINE: You just want to do what's best for the town.
GAIL WOLANIN YOUNG: I just want to do what's best for the town.
CAMERA UP AND OUT, FADE TO BLACK
Strikeslip and New Hartford Online have more about this fiasco here and here.