The official vote count from last Tuesday's election is complete. The voter registration office staff recounting the electronic votes from each machine, taking the vote tallies from the memory card in each voting booth and comparing those to the election night results.
Employees also counted 86 absentee ballots, 25 provisional ballots and 9 other military or emergency absentee ballots. With the official numbers in, there are no changes to report; that includes the race for Erie County Executive.
The official results are in: Incumbent County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper wins reelection, making her only the second County Executive to serve more than one term; following Democrat Judy Lynch, who served Erie County for five terms. Dahlkemper retains the title with a 304 vote lead over her opponent, Republican Art Oligeri.
Caitlin Handerhan, Dahlkemper's Campaign Manager, tells us, "the County Executive races in 2005 and 2009 both were within hundreds of votes so the fact that we came in with 304 votes is quite impressive for this type of race".
Art Oligeri did not ask for a recount. "We have a good system in Erie. There wasn't much of a deviation from what the unofficial count was so it is what it is". Oligeri says he called Dahlkemper after the final numbers were released to congratulate the County Executive and concede.
He says, "I want to thank the 30 thousand voters who voted for me, and I think my message of fiscally responsibility resonated very well... I told her I would support her, obviously, for the betterment of Erie County".
Based on the results of the 2016 election, Dahlkemper had a deficit to overcome county-wide with the county's support for President Donald Trump, Dahlkemper had to persuade roughly 4% of swing voters. Handerhan says, "this really was a race that was about moving Erie County forward and she is really looking forward to doing that for the next four years".
Dahlkemper, who was out of town earlier today, released a statement which acknowledged the divide in the county, saying that she will work to serve all residents to unite the community.
When asking Oligeri if politics was in his future, his response was, "never say never".