The Orange County Board of Elections has declared a tie in the race for a justice seat in the Town of New Windsor. According to the county, incumbent justice Richard Thorpe and challenger George Meyers are tied with 2,723 votes each.
The tie was confirmed after absentee and affidavit ballots were counted last week. One write-in vote for Thorpe was thrown out because, according to New York State Election Law, write-in votes are not permitted for candidates already appearing on ballot lines.
It now falls to the New Windsor Town Board to appoint someone to the position. “It goes back to the town board to make a decision and fill the vacancy for one year,” said Orange County Board of Elections Commissioner Susan Bahren. “The office will be on the ballot again next year,” she said, for a full four-year term.
The appointee does not have to be one of the justice candidates, Bahren said. “There is no law that’s says it has to be either one,” the commissioner said.
“Together, we will discuss it rationally as a board,” Town of New Windsor Supervisor George Green said last week. “We’re going to have to make a decision.” The town board will decide on the appointment at its first regular meeting on Jan. 3.
Before retiring in February, Meyers worked for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the New Windsor Police Department, where he served for 23 years. His father served as Town of New Windsor supervisor in the 1990s and 2000s. Meyers ran on Republican and Conservative lines.
Thorpe has served as a New Windsor town justice for 28 years. The former New York State Police trooper holds a master’s degree in public administration from City University of New York. Thorpe ran on Democratic and Independence lines.
Thorpe ran as a Republican until this election year. Though he was initially endorsed by the New Windsor Republican Committee, “some of the committee members did not carry his nominating petition,” said Green. “Some did. In the end, he failed to get enough signatures to be placed on the ballot as a Republican.”
Thorpe then asked the New Windsor Democratic Committee for an endorsement, which he was granted.
Justice Noreen Calderin was reelected to the other open town justice seat with 3131 votes. Calderin ran on Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
By SHANTAL RILEY