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Broken Polls Delay Celebrations in New Castle

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. – Celebrations in New Castle were tempered on Tuesday night after candidates learned they would not be receiving votes from all 16 districts due to malfunctioning polling machines in districts 9 and 16.

According to Jeannie Palazola, deputy commissioner of the Westchester County Board of Elections, the machines were sealed and brought into the offices in White Plains. Palazola gave no reason for the malfunctions.

“They’re going to take the chords out of the machines, put the chords into our system, and then we’ll get an accurate reading on that,” said Palazola. Results have been called into the offices, but are not accurate. She expects that actual machine numbers will be available by Thursday morning. However, no results will be official until all absentee and affidavit ballots are counted, which may take weeks.

While all Democratic candidates in New Castle lead their respective races, nobody is ready to celebrate. “I don’t want to say anything yet. It’s not over,” said Town Board candidate Elise Kessler Mottel, who holds nearly a 300 vote lead on her closest challenger, Rich Diefenbach, according to the Westchester County Board of Elections

District 4 County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz (D-Somers) expressed his displeasure with the polling machines on Tuesday night. “The 2000 election, Bush vs. Gore continues to live,” said Kaplowitz after learning of the defective polling machines in New Castle. “We took, only government could do this, a perfectly good electoral system based on a mechanical lever and we turned into a supposedly flawless electric system that absolutely doesn’t work.”

The closest vote in New Castle, according to the Westchester County Board of Elections is the race for town supervisor between Susan Carpenter (D) and Bob Kirkwood (R, I). Carpenter leads Kirkwood with 1,603 votes to 1,412.

New Castle Town Clerk Jill Shapiro, however, said that over 1,000 votes have yet to be counted from the two districts with broken polling machines. While it may be too early to tell if a recount will be necessary for any race in New Castle, Palazola warns candidates that “if you’re close, you may want an attorney.”

Click on the Elections 2011 tab and follow The Daily Chappaqua on Facebook for up-to-the-minute election coverage in New Castle.

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