County reappoints elections commissioners after unprecedented election year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 December 2020 at 11:16 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County election commissioners Janice Grabowski, left, and Kathy Case count absentee ballots in this photo from Sept. 18, 2017.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has re-appointed the two election commissioners who led the Board of Elections through an unprecedented year.

Kathy Case of Murray represents the Republican Party and Janice Grabowski of Barre represents the Democrats.

They were reappointed for another two-year term, from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022. They will each be paid $20,823 in 2021, and $21,239 in 2022.

“It’s been a different year but we all got through it,” Case said this morning. “You just have to do the job.”

Grabowski and Case in 2019 moved the Board of Elections office from a wing in a nursing home – The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center – to a the new addition at the County Administration Building.

But this past year brought new challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A special election for the 27th Congressional District and a presidential primary were all delayed. They were eventually held on June 23, the same say as the local Republican primary. That meant the Board of Elections had three different elections on the same day.

They sent out about 24,000 absentee ballot applications for those races. About 5,000 voters would request absentees for the June 23 elections, and another 3,600 cast in-person ballots.

The county was approved for $46,022 in federal CARES funding to help with the added costs with the primary and election.

For the second year, early voting was offered at the Board of Election for nine days prior to the general election.

In the 2019 general election only 374 people used early voting option over nine days. This election, there were more than 10 times that turnout for early voting with 3,753 choosing that option.

The Board of Elections also handled about three times as many absentee ballots for the general election. There were 2,914 applications for absentee, which was up from 952 in 2016.