On election night it looked like Republican Rich Amedure was going to beat Democrat Michelle Hinchey for the open NYS Senate seat for the 46th district. That evening Amedure had 66,784 votes to Hinchey’s 58,613, a difference of 8,171 votes, however, there were still nearly 30,000 absentee ballots that had to be counted. As those ballots were tallied, Hinchey steadily came from behind, resulting in a lead of 870 votes as of last Friday. The total still has to be certified by the New York State Board of Elections;
In a prepared statement, Hinchey said, “Our world has changed immensely since we started our campaign, but that didn’t stop voters from coming out in droves to make their voices for change heard. I decided to run for office to help make our Upstate communities stronger for the future, and I am tremendously thankful for everyone in the 46th District who heard our message and put their faith in me to be a strong Upstate voice in Albany. I could not be more excited or humbled to have the opportunity to represent them in the State Senate.
We are facing some difficult times, but I’ve always believed that great challenges lead to even greater opportunities, and that’s how, by working together, we will build a better tomorrow for all of us living in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Mohawk Valley.
I’d like to thank my family for their unending support, and our incredible staff and volunteers who went up against the odds to help us build an unbelievable campaign; one, I believe, we should all be really proud of. This victory belongs to all of us! And I look forward to getting to work for the people of the 46th District.”
In a subsequent interview, Hinchey recalled saying that everyone should vote in a way that they feel safe, whether in person using masks and keeping proper distancing or by absentee.
Hinchey said currently New York State election law requires that absentee votes are not to be opened and counted until a week after election day.
“We knew we were down but we knew the numbers could be there, especially because there was a much bigger turnout of absentee votes by Democrats and a lot of people who were unaffiliated voters,” she said.
Hinchey said in this case, the counting of absentee votes across all five counties in the district started more than a week after the election, “because the Republicans sued to block some of the counting in which we counter sued to make sure every vote was counted. We have overcome the deficit and now we are up by 870 votes with a few towns in Ulster County still to be counted where we’ve been winning by 82% of all Ulster’s absentee ballots.”
Hinchey is already focusing on her priorities heading into 2021; “making sure we’re getting through COVID, respectively and safely and well for all of our people and our business.” She said the proper tools, resources and guidance should be provided to health care workers and hospitals, “to do this safely and to get through this moment. We’ve got to be more creative on how to bring more revenue in.
Hinchey said in light of more school districts providing either all online learning or a hybrid model, providing more broadband services must be made a priority in these times. She said that due to covid 19 more people are working from home and many seek medical advice through tele-medicine calls, making the expansion of broadband essential in today’s world. She said internet services are lacking in the hill towns in Albany County, large areas of Greene County and even in parts of Ulster County.
“It’s crazy and it’s happening in pockets that we don’t even realize,” she said. “It’s a gross inequity and one that especially now in 2020 and heading into 2021, the internet is almost considered a utility; we expect everyone to have it because it’s such a critical part of our lives and our infrastructure...We’ve got to be sure these companies are expanding quality service and they’re not jacking up rates in a moment when we’re in a pandemic and people need it.”
Hinchey said green job creation in another priority for her. She said during COVID we should be figuring out how to build back better, in a way that creates long-term jobs.
“I think it would revolutionize the communities and the opportunities that we have here,” she said.
Hinchey said she was always hopeful for a positive outcome despite reporting on the initial vote tallies.
“We knew that this race was going to be close and we knew it was a tough race,” she said. “This district is drawn for the sitting Republican senator and we knew that going in. We knew we had to work hard and we knew there were about 30,000 people who had voted but they voted by mail and there’s no reason those votes should not be counted. We believe in Democracy and having every vote counted and reaching people where they are and making sure that they heard our message for change and to help working families.”