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Brown's vote total in Buffalo mayoral race surpasses Walton's for first time

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Posted at 7:34 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 18:47:06-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For the first time, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has more votes than Democratic nominee India Walton in the race for Buffalo mayor.

The Erie County Board of Elections began hand counting 36,000 write-in ballots on Wednesday. As of Friday afternoon Mayor Brown received 29,201 votes, Ben Carlisle received 185 and Jaz Miles received 20. Election officials say only a handful of ballots were thrown out due to unclear intent.

Meanwhile, Democratic nominee India Walton has at least 25,194 votes.

“There’s never been this size of a write in as far as anyone can tell, this size, in the state of New York.”

Election Commissioner Jeremy Zellner says this is an unprecedented election, causing a delay in results.

“We count every vote every year," Zellner said. "The campaigns have the right to object to them.”

All campaigns are invited to watch the process and dispute any votes they think should not count.

“All campaigns have been pretty reasonable so far," Zellner said. "We’re looking at voter intent here”

Jesse Myerson from the India Walton campaign says there are a few situations where the Walton campaign would dispute a ballot.

“If it’s in the wrong row for instance," Myerson said. "Or if the name Brown is there but it’s the wrong first initial."

Zellner says if there are 5,000 or 8,000 votes for a different write in candidate, that could change the nature of the race. But commissioner Ralph Mohr says that’s unlikely.

“The vast majority that we’ve seen in the write-in votes for the first five districts we’ve done have been for mayor Brown,” Mohr said.

Myerson says the Walton campaign is not expecting to flip the projected results. But he says this year’s election is about setting precedent.

“We want to make sure we’ve got a fully transparent, accountable, safe and secure election,” Myerson said.

There are still over 30,000 write-ins to be counted. Election Commissioners say they expect this process to take about six more days.

The Brown campaign did not make anyone available for comment.

On Friday, India Walton released the following statement.

Today, I respectfully accept the will of the voters.

I believe that there is healing required, and I remain committed to working to reduce poverty and using my platform to create the safe, healthy Buffalo we all need and deserve.

This election was not an end, but a beginning. The new ideas we articulated, the new energy we inspired, the new volunteers we trained, and the new relationships we built will only grow in the coming years.

This campaign planted many seeds. The blossoms are inevitable.
India Walton