Judge denies Tenney request to certify her victory, sends ballots back to elections officials to correct mistakes

State Politics

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Saying it is not within a judge’s power to declare a winner in the hotly contested race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District, State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte sent the race back to the eight county boards of elections covered by the sprawling district.

DelConte’s order said in part, “This Court is without the authority to order that the Boards of Elections simply conduct their original canvasses over again (Election Law g l6-106; bul sec g 9-208 [effective llll2l]). Nonetheless, the right to vote means that every single valid vote must be counted. Correcting the errors of the Boards of Elections or, where they cannot be corrected, directing the recanvassing of those ballots, is the only way to accomplish this, no matter how time consuming it may be.”

During court proceedings, which were to determine the validity of hundreds of disputed absentee and affidavit ballots, it became apparent that several counties did not follow proper procedure and keep track of objections made by each campaign for hundreds of absentee and affidavit ballots.

In what reporters dubbed “stickygate,” election commissioners in Oneida County said they did not mark ballots in ink with the objections raised by either campaign. Instead, they posted sticky notes on the ballot, some of which did not make it to the courtroom when the ballots were delivered to the judge.

On election night, Republican Claudia Tenney held a more than 28,000 vote lead over Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi. But absentee ballots heavily favored Brindisi. By Thanksgiving, Brindisi was ahead by 13 votes. Then Herkimer County reported it had made some mistakes in its tabulation and that put Tenney into the lead by 12 votes.

We also then learned that Chenango County had discovered more than 50 ballots from early voting that had not been counted.

Brindisi released the following statement in response to the judge’s ruling:

This decision is a win for the people of the 22nd District. As I’ve said all along, the voters of this community deserve to have their voices heard. This margin is too small and the stakes too high to rush to judgement. We owe it to voters, our democracy, and each other to let this process move forward without attacking each other, promoting conspiracy theories, or fanning the flames of division. As this process continues to play out, I hope everyone, including those who did not vote for me, and my opponent will do what is best for our country and protect the integrity of our election. I am hopeful that I will come out on top and be able to continue to work with both parties and stand up to anyone on behalf of all of New York’s 22nd district.

Anthony Brindisi

A spokesperson from Tenney’s campaign released the following statement in response to the judge’s ruling:

Today’s decision affirmatively rejected Brindisi’s attempt to have only votes favorable to his campaign counted. It appears that this ruling will see to it that every legal vote is counted. If the proper legal procedures are followed, we are confident that we will prevail and Claudia will assume office as the Congresswoman for New York’s 22nd District.

Sean Kennedy, Spokesperson for Claudia Tenney’s Campaign

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