No Winner Yet In NY House Race As Candidates Spar In Court
Published: December 8th, 2020

No winner yet in NY House race as candidates spar in court On Dec. 1, 2020, Chenango County informed a state judge it had discovered 55 early voting ballots that weren’t canvassed by the local board of election, and therefore weren’t included in the vote totals in the ultra-tight race between Anthony Brindisi and Republican challenger, former U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney. The most recent results — which don’t include those ballots — showed Tenney with a 12-vote lead over Brindisi. (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth, File)


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A state judge probed for a way forward Monday in the ultra-tight congressional race between U.S. Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi and his Republican challenger, former U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney.

With as few as a dozen votes separating the candidates, Judge Scott DelConte heard oral arguments on how to handle hundreds of disputed absentee and affidavit ballots, and what to do about a string of recordkeeping problems that have led to confusion over vote totals.

DelConte expressed frustration about a race that’s featured counties sending in shifting and at-times incomplete vote tallies, dozens of ballots belatedly discovered uncounted, and an issue with critical records on ballot objections being lost when the sticky notes on which they had been written lost their stick.

The judge said he’ll issue a ruling soon that both campaigns hope will clear up just how a winner will be declared.

Brindisi’s campaign is asking the judge to order counties to audit some results and provide records about ballot objections. His attorney has argued a “significant portion” were improperly rejected by county elections officials.

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Tenney’s attorneys, in turn, have lambasted Brindisi’s request as a “unprecedented, unworkable, flawed, time-consuming process.” Her team has asked the judge to allow counties to certify her as the winner now.

The judge didn’t indicate how he intended to resolve the disputes but appeared sour on the idea of simply declaring the race over or doing targeted recounts or audits in areas cherrypicked by the Brindisi campaign.

Meanwhile, one of the counties involved in tabulating results, Oneida County, told the court Monday that a Board of Election staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.

Assistant County Attorney Robert Pronteau said the employee took the test Thursday and received the result Sunday. “The employee worked on Friday, so it is probable that all employees at the Board of Elections were exposed,” Pronteau said.

Election workers having to isolate themselves might further delay results.