GENESEO – Polls are now closed for village elections in Livingston County, including the hotly contested race in Geneseo for Village Trustee that drew record high numbers of voters to the polls.
The candidates for Trustee are nurse and Geneseo resident Leslie Carson (R), Rochester resident and SUNY Geneseo student Matthew Cook (I), former Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Committee Phil Jones (D), Geneseo resident and SUNY Geneseo student Mary Rutigliano (I), and incumbent Trustee Bob Wilcox (D).
The Livingston County Board of Elections reports that of the 723 absentee ballots issued, 594 have been returned by college addresses. For comparison, 54 absentee ballots were returned from all other villages in Livingston County combined.
Sam Larkin, SUNY Geneseo student and campaign manager for Cook and Rutigliano along with fellow student Sean Perry, reported at 8:40 p.m. that a total of 643 voters voted at both of Geneseo’s polling places combined.
Wilcox is vocal about his opposition to college students running for Trustee.
“I disagree with students serving as trustees because of the fact that it takes a lot of time which I don’t believe students have,” said Wilcox at a Q and A hosted by SUNY Geneseo on Feb. 25. “It also takes a certain maturity and life experience to deal with this position.”
“If you don’t have students at the table, then you can’t have democracy happen in a way that’s going to benefit the community as a whole,” answered Cook. “The fact that we have students here and involved means that they are invested in the community. Our great country was founded because there were people not being represented.”
Jones called on all voters to come out and exercise their right to vote.
“Exercising the the right to vote is a cornerstone of a democratic system,” said Jones. “Voter turnout is pathetic in this country, state, county, town and village. All elections matter. We may not always like our choices and we may not be happy with politicians but it does make a difference who gets elected. This is as true in a village election as it is in a Presidential election. What local government does impacts people’s daily life as much as, if not more, than what happens in Albany or Washington. Just think about when the streets aren’t plowed or the garbage isn’t picked up, etc.”
UPDATE: Unofficial totals are: 346 Carson, 299 Wilcox, 276 Jones, 173 Rutigliano, 55 Cook. The 594 absentee ballots have not yet been counted.
The GeneseeSun.com is at the Board of Elections awaiting the arrival and counting of the ballots. Standby!