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Queens Chronicle

Katz lead down to 16; long recount ahead

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019 2:41 pm | Updated: 12:03 pm, Thu Jul 11, 2019.

Borough President Melinda Katz’s paper-thin, 20-vote lead in the Queens district attorney’s race dropped to 16 Friday afternoon after a contentious hearing before the county board of elections.

Tiffany Cabán, the 31-year-old public defender, claimed victory on election night only to see her margin of victory evaporate this week following a count of absentee ballots.

With the DA’s job hanging in the balance, both campaigns have signaled this week that they are prepared to fight to the end.

It was also apparent the fight would be waged in the high weeds of arcane election law. 

At a hearing Friday morning, a lawyer for Cabán campaign argued that 28 ballots that had never been opened or counted had been invalidated incorrectly. 

Amanda Berinato, chief clerk of the board, agreed that six ballots were, in fact, valid.

When they were opened, the tally was five for Cabán, one for Katz — chopping the borough president’s lead to 16 votes.

The election appears to hang on the validity of just disputed 114 ballots.

Those votes, called afffidavit or provisional ballots, were cast by people who registration was in question on election day, either because they were not on the voter rolls as Democrats or had not registered in time to qualify to vote.  

More than 2,300 provisional ballots in all were invalidated for a variety of reason. 

At issue, were the ballots that were disqualified because the line on the affidavit marked Party Enrollment had been left blank.

The lawyer for the Cabán campaign, Renée Paradis, argued that the board had no legal basis to exclude “party missing” ballots as long as the voters met all other requirements. 

Berinato rejected all Cabán’s appeals based on party-missing grounds saying that because this was a primary election, the voter is required to claim a party affiliation.

The lawyer for the Katz campaign, Frank Bolz, claimed the Cabán people has “cherry picked” its challenges from districts that had voted heavily in the insurgent’s favor.

 The case will ultimately be heard Tuesday morning by the Supervising Judge of the Queens Civil Court, Judge Jeremy Weinstein, in Jamaica. 

Also on Tuesday, a manual recount of more than 85,000 votes cast on election day is set to begin at the BOE’s warehouse facility in Middle Village.

The recount will require scores of BOE workers to go through every ballot for more than 700 voting machines.

It will be the first county-wide recount in recent memory, said a spokeswoman for the board.

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1 comment:

  • Pres100 posted at 6:44 pm on Mon, Jul 8, 2019.

    Pres100 Posts: 36

    "Tiffany Cabán claimed victory on election night I guess she never heard this-- It ain't over till it's over" George Herman 'Babe' Ruth, Jr. [beam]