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Unofficial results show Supervisor Steven Walters to be reelected

HAMBURG — Almost three weeks after the polls closed, town of Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters has maintained a lead over challenger Walter Rooth III, after the absentee ballots were counted. Although all of the votes have been received, the Erie County Board of Elections is now in the process of re-canvassing each of the election districts in the town.

Walters, the incumbent Hamburg town supervisor, has unofficially won election to his third term. Rooth took Walters into overtime, requiring a counting of absentee ballots, before even an unofficial lead was declared.

Election night results found Walters with a lead of 158, with more than 450 absentee and miscellaneous ballots to be counted. With the race for town supervisor too close to call, the need to count those ballots became necessary, according to the board of elections.

Under election law, absentee ballots cannot be counted for at least 13 days after to the election, to allow for the receipt of military and overseas ballots.

Those ballots were opened and counted on Nov. 18. Results of that count narrowed the gap, but not enough to change the outcome.

The absentee ballot tally found Rooth’s picking up 235 votes to Walters’ 219. This week, the board of elections will re-canvass the votes for each of the Hamburg districts, before officially declaring a winner. That body said that Walters will likely be declared the winner later this week, gaining his third four-year term.

Walters will be in the minority on the town board, as its sole Republican. With the election of Democrats Michael Quinn and Cheryl Potter-Juda, Walters will now be faced with the prospect of working with a Democratic majority on the town board.

Walters said that he was happy with the election results. “We worked hard and ran a tough campaign,” he said, adding that he is proud that the voters put their trust in him and his record of cutting taxes, spending less and “cutting waste without affecting services.”

Saying that his reelection was “a great honor,” Walters told The Sun that he has reached out to Quinn and Potter-Juda and hopes to sit down with both individuals, to put together a plan for the town, as it moves forward in the new year.

Rooth acknowledged the loss and said, “I did everything I possibly could have done; I couldn’t have worked any harder or asked any more of friends and family.”

He added that he is proud of his campaign and the “generous support of time and effort” he received from the voters. Although Rooth said that he has “no idea” about his future political plans, he said that he has been active in the community for the past 20-plus years; “that’s not going to change.”

Potter-Juda said that she is looking forward to working “for the people,” on the town board. She said she hopes that Walters will be “open to listening to the new members and taking into account new ideas for the betterment of our town. I’m not a negative person,” she added. “That is not my style. I can work with anybody.”

Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr told The Sun that the board of elections “recanvass[es] all local elections, whether they require the counting of absentee ballots or not.”

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