UTICA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Republican Claudia Tenney’s lead over Democrat Anthony Brindisi expanded to 122 votes Friday evening in the country’s only undecided congressional race.
After previously rejected ballots ordered by a judge to be counted, 139 went for Brindisi and 232 for Tenney. She had led by 29 votes before this week’s count.
The newly-counted ballots had initially been rejected by the Oneida County Board of Elections because the voters had registered at the last minute, but before the deadline, through the DMV. The judge ordered their ballots should count because it was the elections staff who made the mistake of not processing their registrations.
The DMV voter registration problem was discovered by the Brindisi Campaign, which used those grounds to challenge 69 ballots. His legal team asked only those 69 ballots to be reconsidered, but the strategy backfired when the judge expanded the count to every ballot on those grounds, not just the challenged once.
Tenney’s 122-vote lead is significant considering State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte ruled Friday to not count hundreds of affidavit/provisional ballots that never counted but Brindisi was hoping would be reconsidered.
In a 23-page decision, the judge rejected and will not count:
- 128 ballots from voters who dropped ballots off at the wrong polling place
- 20 ballots cast in the wrong county, many by college students
- 85 ballots, cast by people who were deemed “purged voters”
“Purged voters” are people who had been previously registered, but were inactive voters for so long, they were removed from the registration lists.
In his decision, DelConte wrote, “Despite the severity of the transgressions that have been uncovered in this proceeding, including multiple violations of state and federal Election Law, this Court has no authority to grant any other relief…”
He basically argues, despite the blatant errors on the part of some voters, some boards of election offices, and for some, blatant election injustices, the court doesn’t have the power to fix the problems.
Elections staff from the eight counties in NY22 will be back in court Monday for a final review of the ballots.
A schedule has been set for the votes to be certified with New York State.
Tenney’s likely victory based on these rulings doesn’t mean the race is over.
Brindisi has filed paperwork to appeal decisions to the nest-highest level of court.