BUFFALO, N.Y. — More than 36,000 voters in the city of Buffalo wrote-in a candidate for mayor of Buffalo.
The Erie County Board of Elections believes it's dealing with a count unlike any in the history of the state.
"We are talking about an unprecedented situation here with the amount of ballots we're going to have to count by hand, but I feel that there's a cooperative atmosphere here and a professional atmosphere and we're going to get it done," Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said.
Bipartisan teams of staff began hand-counting the ballots at 10 a.m. Wednesday as representatives for the campaigns observed. The board said only a negligible amount of votes have been thrown out so far because they were unable to determine for whom they were cast.
"Primarily, to have the vote not count for a write-in candidate, it would have to be in the wrong column or it would have to be in such a manner that we're unable to determine who that vote should be cast for," Republican Commissioner Ralph Mohr said.
Wednesday went very well for incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, who received more than 99% of the write-ins counted so far. There were more than 11,000 more write-in votes than those cast for Democrat India Walton.
If the trend continues, Brown will easily eclipse Walton's total.
"If we get through the Delaware district and there's really only Mayor Brown and India Walton votes, I think we'll know that pattern," Zellner said. "As you know, most of this stuff is by pattern."
The board said regardless of how clear the outcome becomes, it will hand-count every single vote.
"We anticipate that best case scenario we'll get through this process in three days and most likely we'll continue into next week," Mohr said.
It must certify the ballots by Nov. 27.