Absentee ballots favor Sprague, Hommes

ELIZABETHTOWN - Final results from the Sept. 15 Republican primary in Essex County are showing a widened lead for the winning candidates.

The Essex County Board of Elections has completed its count of more than 250 absentee ballots, which came out in favor of Sheriff Henry Hommes and District Attorney candidate Kristy Sprague.

Compared to results released the night of the election, official results released Sept. 30 show wider margins of victory for both candidates.

Final numbers show Sprague defeating incumbent DA Julie Garcia 2,461 to 2,175, increasing Sprague's lead by 18 votes compared to the original count. The percentages remained exactly the same, however, with 53.08 percent of voters choosing Sprague.

"I thank the voters for their support and look forward to the work that lies ahead," Sprague said.

Hommes increased his lead by 190 votes, defeating challenger Michael "Ike" Tyler 2,290 to 1,908. The adjusted results increased the percentage from 52.4 percent to 54.5 percent in favor of Hommes.

"It is always an honor to have the support of so many of the voters across the county," Hommes said.

The county Board of Elections reportedly found mistakes in votes counted on election day. One hundred and one votes in Westport and eight in Newcomb that had originally been credited to Tyler were determined to be over-counted and so were subtracted from the vote total.

Acting Republican election commissioner Patti Doyle said the mistake resulted from a miscommunication on election night between poll reporters and those compiling results.

"We just misunderstood what they said over the phone," Doyle said. "We noticed the next day that there were more votes than there were voters [in Westport]."

The votes from the two towns were immediately recanvassed, confirming the accuracy of the correction.

The official results also revealed that Hommes won the majority of the vote in the towns of Elizabethtown and Newcomb, two towns in which he was trailing in the unofficial results.

Both Tyler and Garcia will remain on the ballot for the general election; Tyler running as an independent and Garcia as a Democrat.

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