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How to win an election without even trying


If you really want your vote to count, move to Rensselaer Falls.

If you want a good chance at winning an elected office without actually running, move to Rensselaer Falls.

And if you want to significantly increase your chances of winning the election you haven't entered after you move to Rensselaer Falls, change your name to McAllister.

Matt McAllister wasn't on the ballot for a seat on the Rensselaer Falls Village Board of Trustees in the recent elections ... but he won. There were two seats open and he came in second. With nine write-in votes. Count 'em. Nine.

Now, you don't have to be named McAllister to win in this little village. Travis Dox rolled to victory for the other seat with a whopping 13 votes. He was an incumbent who chose to win re-election by not getting on the ballot. Want to take a guess who he beat?

Connie McAllister, sister-in-law of Matt. She was not running but received four write-in votes.

Randy McAllister, husband of Connie. He was not running but garnered one vote.

A guy named John McAdoo, who probably voted for himself because his name starts with McA and that makes it pretty darn close to McAllister.

My friends from the big city would marvel at an election where nine votes positions you for a possible victory. Even in the smallest suburbs where these friends live, four votes would put you about 75,872 behind the person you were running against.

These are the same friends whose homes are at places like 11223 Ridge Road and marvel that I have only one digit in my mailing address. But I am getting off point.

The point is I think politics in Rensselaer Falls is a hoot.

Sure, they have a renegade every now and then who does all the paperwork to get on the ballot. But most of the time people - some of which actually consider themselves candidates - don't bother.

Which is a pretty good strategy when you think about it. All you have to do is vote for yourself and the race almost immediately becomes too close to call. Get your mother to vote for you and you become a front-runner. If your father likes you, newspaper websites might declare you the winner before the polls close.

Matt McAllister was not employing this strategy. He works as a newspaper reporter and ethically could not run for elected office and keep his job. That is a pretty clear conflict-of-interest call. No need for further review. You can be a newspaper reporter. You can run for elected office. You can't do both.

But you can't stop people from voting for you if you are a newspaper reporter. Matt knows because he tried. When he was trick-or-treating with his children on Halloween, people giving out the candy also told him they were giving him their votes. And they apparently weren't willing to take his no for an answer.

That's where we are now. A couple of guys who weren't running are on track to win. As is most often the case in Rensselaer Falls.

Nothing is official until absentee ballots are counted and the election is certified by St. Lawrence County officials. But do the math and it appears that Matt has won the opportunity to turn the job down: The village only received one absentee ballot.

It was most likely from a soldier named McAllister.

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