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What happens if it's too close to call?

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If we don't know the results of the election between Democratic Rep. Bill Owens and Republican Matt Doheny tonight or early tomorrow morning, we probably won't know it for another week and a half, at least.
As many as 24,199 absentee votes might have to be counted, and then there's an untold number of provisional or "affidavit" ballots to be tallied. If all 24,199 absentee ballots come in, turnout is 6 percent among active voters just for that form of voting.
What happens if the race is within 2,000 votes tonight? No call. We'll have to rely on the absentees and the recanvass.
Jefferson County will start counting absentees on Nov. 15; St. Lawrence County will start counting on Nov. 16. Those are two of the jump-ball counties. Adding Lewis into the mix, Mr. Owens leads by 3 percentage points, according to the most recent Siena poll.
So, provided that the election is close, it's not just a long night that we have to worry about.

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