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Slisz Wins by One Vote

Based on a review of electronic records of ballots cast in last November’s election, City of Tonawanda Councilman Richard Slisz will retain his seat. Until today’s findings at the Erie County Board of Elections, he had been declared the loser by one vote to Augustine Beyer. Click here for some background. And here. More from the Tonawanda News here.

The matter had been playing out in the courts, where Slisz’s attorney Peter A. Reese had been pressing for an inspection of the paper ballots submitted by voters into the electronic voting machines. It turns out the machines store digital images of the paper ballots. This was the evidence scrutinized today.

At today’s proceedings, a ballot was discovered that had not been counted by the machine because the voter had circled Slisz’s name (rather than filling in the corresponding bubble). Thus, the voter’s clear intent had been ignored by the new technology.

The results are still not official, but it appears to be a concrete example of how fallible our voting system really is.


  • Michael Kuzma

    Great work, Chairman Reese!

  • Charles

    Slisz lost by one vote, they found one uncounted vote. The election is then a tie. I believe if it is a tie and If I recall the news accounts correctly, Slisz will serve as a holdover unless or until filled by appointment according to the Tonawanda City Charter.

  • Jim Ostrowski

    Wrong. Two previously uncounted Slisz votes were found. Slisz wins by one.

  • Charles

    Thank you for the clarification, counselor. The AV note was a bit unclear. Congrats to the winner. But especially congrats to all involved for assuring that ALL THE VOTES ARE COUNTED. Now let us hope that someone in the NY State Assembly or Senate sponsors a bill to account for hand counts of all ballots in a close election.

  • Peter A Reese

    The recount of ballot actually involved reviewing all paper ballots previously machine scanned on 11/8/11, not electronic images. One ballot was consistently voted by circling the target area ovals, but not filling them in. Such ballots cannot be read by the scanners which only look in the ovals for marks. However, under the Election Law and regulations, voter intent takes precedence over following instructions, and such ballots are expressly listed as an example of a good vote. Unfortunately, you need to visually audit the ballots to catch such votes and no judge has yet ordered a manual audit. In summary, these votes are good, they are hidden in the machines and no one will let you see them. See anything wrong with that?

    This is precisely what we (myself, Jim Ostrowski and Mike Kuzma) have been fighting against in this case. The result was gotten wrong because of one machine error (didn’t read the ballot at all) and one machine shortcoming (can’t read all vaild voter intent ballots). To make things worse, if the two subject ballots had been cast absentee, this problem never would have come up because all absentees are available for eyeball review. Is there any justification for violating your constitututional right to vote if you vote at the polling place, but not absentee? Can you say invidious discrimination, boys and girls?

    I guess this whole affair shows what a rotten, no good, self-serving miserable, ignorant SOB I really am. And BTW I was 100% right. The truth sucks doesn’t it?

  • Peter A Reese

    BTW opposing counsel has conceded the election to us and Mr. Slisz should be sworn in in time to attend the Tonawanda Common Council meeting next Tuesday night. Congratulations to an old political warrior on another victory. For those who don’t know Dick was the person who, as County Legislature minority leader, saved ECMC from closing in 1978, and he is also credited with modern expansion of ECC.

  • Allen Miller

    Does this guys name rhyme with Sleaze?