Yesterday, 286 people voted for Victor Mendolia in the race for Common Council president, in spite of the fact that Mendolia had withdrawn from the race more than two months ago. There have been demands to know why his name still appeared on the ballot and whose fault it was. The explanation is that New York State Election Law establishes a deadline for candidates to withdraw in order to have their names removed from the ballot, and that deadline had already passed when Mendolia announced, on August 21, that he was dropping out of the race.
There are rumors that phone calls were made on the eve of the election urging people to vote for Mendolia. If that actually happened, it's very disturbing. It suggests that a deliberate attempt was made to sabotage Tom DePietro's chances by encouraging people who might have been inclined to vote for him to throw away their votes by voting for someone who was out of the race and who had given his support to DePietro.
There are many troubling things about this outcome, not the least of which is, as Seth Rogovoy has pointed out, that significantly more voters did not vote for Claudia DeStefano than did. The combined votes of Mendolia and DePietro total 771 to DeStefano's 574 votes. More disturbing than the possibility of having a Common Council president that about 60 percent of the voters did not opt for is the fact that 286 voters were so uninformed as to vote for someone who wasn't actually running.
But this may be nothing new in Hudson. Someone told me a story yesterday that I have yet to confirm, but, with that caveat, it's worth sharing anyway. Back a half-century or so, a mayoral candidate died before an election. There wasn't time to recruit a new candidate or to remove his name from the ballot, and remarkably, he won. In that case, there was probably a special election to select a new mayor. In this case, unless there are enough votes for DePietro among the 220 absentee ballots to close the 89-vote gap (and there very well may be), Hudson will have to live with the consequences: a Council president that 60 percent of the voters didn't vote for and who is of a different party from both the majority of the Council and the mayor.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CAROLE OSTERINK