Republican Kathy Rappaport was announced the winner of the Fallsburg town supervisor election on Monday, hours after the board of elections counted approximately 400 contested absentee ballots.
Incumbent Democrat Steven Vegliante and two town board candidates aligned with Vegliante had challenged the absentee ballots, arguing that many of them had been filed by Brooklyn residents who had summer homes in the area.
On Friday, a New York State Supreme Court had ordered that the board of elections be able to complete its canvas.
After the absentee ballots were counted Monday, Rappaport won by 271 votes.
In a statement on social media, Vegilante said he would not offer Rappaport congratulations, saying, “I do not believe in celebrating a win gathered through immoral practices,” and vowed he would “continue to demand that this election be investigated by law enforcement and administrative agencies.”
Rappaport’s supporters had depicted Vegliante, who had been in office since 2010, as opposing development and expansion in Fallsburg.
“I expect there to be many changes when this new Town Board is seated,” Vegliante’s statement said. “While I hope that their allegiance will be with our entire community, their behavior in the last six months does not bode well for the Town our team has fought so hard to protect these past 12 years.”
In her own statement Monday, Rapaport said “the rule of law prevailed, counting every legal vote and declaring duly elected winners.”
“Today is a new day in the Town of Fallsburg,” Rappaport said. “The old ways of doing business, with just a few seats at the table, are over. With that, it’s time to move forward. We ask our supporters and detractors alike to put the rhetoric of the campaign behind us and unite for our community. Our community is more important than any one party, campaign, or person. When we are willing to rise above those differences and work together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
Matis Rutner, a Sullivan County community organizer and voting rights activist who supported Rappaport, told Hamodia, “I am glad that the rule of law prevailed and the voices of our community’s tax-paying residents were heard. Participation in local elections is very important to having a government that works for the people. This outcome was a good result for our democracy, the rule of law and everyone who calls Fallsburg home.”
Updated Monday, December 13, 2021 at 5:08 pm .