Guest Columns

Despite Narrow Defeat, Proud to Have Run Honorable Campaign for Supervisor

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By Barbara DiGiacinto

My running mates and I agreed from day one that our campaign would be honest, therefore not misleading, and would not go negative with personal attacks directed at our opponents or their supporters. We never wavered from this position despite the fact I was targeted at times with misleading and sometimes totally false personal attacks.

In the post-election period, when I have been approached by the press, my responses have been factually based. Also in the post-election period, I have implored my supporters not to make negative comments directed at my opponent and to be patient and let the process, a recount, play out.

I am a great believer in having faith in the process; therefore, on Wednesday, Nov. 8, the day after Election Day, when I learned I was trailing by one vote, I understood a recount would determine and certify the winner regarding the North Castle supervisor’s race. I had no thoughts of doing anything but wait for the recount.

On the other hand, and as he was entitled to do, my opponent, along with his attorney, exercised his right under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the names and all pertinent information pertaining to 20 unopened absentee ballots. My opponent’s legal team took the position that five out of the 20 absentee ballots were fraudulent. The criteria for this determination was never made public. I voted for myself on Election Day, and that represents the extent of my involvement in the voting process.

In court, it was decided to seal four of the five ballots; therefore, these ballots did not count. There was no determination of fraud and my motivation to agree to release these votes was to move forward with the count unencumbered as well as not to involve any further those individuals who had exercised their right to vote by absentee ballot. Since these ballots were sealed, no one knows how many votes my opponent or I would have received.

Although the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, e-mails recently circulated are, in my opinion, rampant with false accusations and false conclusions. E-mails of this nature are divisive and hurtful to our community on so many levels.

Legal counsel has advised that a person is entitled to have more than one residence and also has the right to declare one of those residences as his/her/they legal residence for the purpose of voting. For example, a person may live in Florida for six months of the year but declare the residence in New York State as the residence from which he/she/they vote. Therefore, this person will not participate in Florida elections, but will have the right to vote in New York State elections.

Although I have not courted the press in the post-election period, there have been reports in print as well as live interviews where my opponent claims victory. I contacted News12 last week and clarified there is no winner until a recount has been concluded and certified. A recount took place starting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, by the Westchester County Board of Elections.

The recount is part of the process; it is objective and collects the data necessary to determine the winner at which time the Board of Elections will certify the election of North Castle’s next supervisor.

When a person runs for public office, eyes wide open from day one is the fact there will be a winner and a loser. Because I believe in the process, I am of the mind to accept with no qualifications the outcome of the recount. I graciously accept defeat and will work with the supervisor and the Town Board to serve the residents of North Castle to the best of my ability.

I am proud of the way my running mates, supporters and I have conducted ourselves. Could I have changed course and thrown mud? Absolutely, and it would have been factual and effective, but that’s not my style. I do not want to win by end-justifies-the-means tactics. All I ask is for a free and fair election.

I would like to thank all of the voters who participated in the election. I have been inspired by all of the support I have received since Election Day from voters representing all political parties as well as those registered voters with no party affiliation.

Barbara DiGiacinto has been a North Castle councilwoman for the last 10 years and was the Republican candidate for supervisor in last month’s election.

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