The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Machine glitches delay results; Harckham leads Michaelis


By JOHN ROCHE
JOHN ROCHE PHOTO

Peter Harckham is welcomed by supporters at Oliver’s Restaurant in Katonah on Tuesday night.

 

Although County Legislator Peter Harckham made it clear from the start that he wasn’t yet claiming a win in Tuesday’s race with challenger Peter Michaelis, his post-election remarks to supporters certainly sounded like a victory speech.

“We’re not declaring victory tonight, but we feel very, very good about where this is headed,” said Mr. Harckham, who held a 700-point lead over Mr. Michaelis when he spoke to supporters at Oliver’s Restaurant about 90 minutes after the polls closed on Nov. 8.

By Wednesday morning, that lead dwindled to about 500 votes, with 80 percent of the election precincts throughout the district reporting, according to the Westchester County Board of Elections.

But because of malfunctions with the electronic voting machines in Bedford and beyond throughout the day on Tuesday, Mr. Michaelis said it would be premature to comment about the outcome until all the votes are tabulated. “There is simply too much we don’t know at this point,” Mr. Michaelis said late Tuesday night.

Speaking at a gathering of supporters at Peppino’s Ristorante in Katonah, Mr. Michaelis said that while the preliminary numbers showed him trailing the two-term incumbent, Mr. Harckham’s lead wasn’t an insurmountable gap to overcome, given that several polling places in Bedford and in Lewisboro had yet to report their voting totals.

“I can’t comment on the vote when the fact is the results haven’t yet been recorded,” Mr. Michaelis said.  “Until all the votes are counted, which may take some time given that several machines broke down and there were other reported problems, it wouldn’t be proper for me to speak about an election outcome that still hasn’t been determined.”

Another close race for county legislator between the two Katonah residents four years ago resulted in Mr. Harckham capturing the seat that Republican Ursula LaMotte vacated after 16 years in office. In that 2007 contest, Mr. Michaelis lost to Mr. Harckham by just 365 votes out of about 11,000 cast.

Both candidates said they feel strongly about the importance of every vote being counted, but Mr. Harckham said the unofficial tallies looked very promising. “We feel very, very comfortable that the way the voting has gone will stand up,” Mr. Harckham said. “We won Pound Ridge solidly, which we lost the first time; we won Mount Kisco by more than 2 to 1; we won Bedford by 267 votes; and in North Salem, we only lost by 85 votes, and we got killed there last time. There are some machines in Bedford that had issues, but they’ll be worked out, and barring some anomaly in Lewisboro, the results look very positive.”

The race between Mr. Harckham and Mr. Michaelis was a hard-fought campaign, primarily centered on taxes, other fiscal issues and Westchester County’s fair housing settlement.

Throughout his bid to unseat Mr. Harckham, Mr. Michaelis said he was running to bring fiscal responsibility back to county government and end the bipartisan bickering he maintains is curbing any meaningful progress in the Legislature and stifling the efforts of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Mr. Harckham, who also ran on the Independence and Working Families lines, asked voters to look at his record, which he says shows leadership and ability in reducing taxes and spending while protecting Westchester’s families, public health and safety and the environment.

Speaking to his family, friends and supporters Tuesday, Mr. Harckham said he believes voters sent a “loud and clear message” that they want a balance of power in county government, referring to the Democratic majority in the Legislature being retained with Mr. Astorino, a Republican, serving as county executive.

“Voters don’t want a county executive without checks and balances,” Mr. Harckham said. “They don’t want one-party control.”

Mr. Michaelis, who also ran on the Conservative line, thanked those who voted for him and worked in support of his campaign. “We had incredibly passionate and dedicated volunteers and a fabulous crew, and I thank each and all of them,” he said.

Mr. Michaelis said he believes that District 2 and all of Westchester needs to head further in the direction he pushed for throughout the race.

“Our message is still the same and it’s as important as ever to address,” he said. “People want smaller, less expensive county government, they want meaningful tax relief and they want a legislature that does more than seek to block the progress that Rob Astorino is working toward.”

Mr. Harckham said that the tough political battle with Mr. Michaelis for the seat proved particularly challenging because of the devastating nor’easter that slammed the region on Halloween weekend. “There was a point I said I can deal with a natural disaster, or I can deal with a campaign, but I can’t deal with both,” said Mr. Harckham, thanking his wife, Janet, their daughters and everyone who worked on his campaign for helping him through what he described as a “grueling six months.”    

Mr. Michaelis said that in addition to being troubled by the breakdowns and other problems with the electronic voting machines, which replaced the traditional “curtain and lever” booths two years ago, he was also bothered by the low turnout.

“We saw a total turnout of about 8,000 voters, compared to 11,000 when Pete and I ran against each other four years ago,” Mr. Michaelis said. “It’s disappointing in a time when our county is facing such serious problems and there are very significant issues that directly affect each and every resident in Westchester that we’d see what I’d consider a low turnout.”


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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

NEWSSTAND LOCATIONS

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center;
    294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center;
    280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    


South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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November 10, 2011