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Queens Chronicle

Paper ballot count in Queens district attorney race underway

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 2:16 pm

A painstaking hand count of more than 6,200 paper ballots began Wednesday morning with the Queens district attorney race hanging in the balance.

In a conference room at the Board of Elections’ Queens headquarters in Kew Gardens, a small army of staffers sliced open scores of neatly sorted envelopes as several score of poll watchers and lawyers looked on.

The process was expected to go on until 9 p.m. Wednesday and resume again on Friday.

The BOE could have a final vote tally as soon as Friday, officials said, but there was no guarantee.

The final count will determine the outcome of the Democratic primary for DA that  ended a week ago with public defender Tiffany Cabán leading Borough President Melinda Katz by just 1.3 percent.

Once the favorite to win the race, Katz is now trailing by 1,199 votes, according to the BOE, but has declined to concede the race until all the votes — about 3,500 absentee and 2,700 affidavit ballots — were counted.

The process of counting the last remaining votes is laborious. 

At eight tables, two BOE staff members were assigned to open the sealed envelopes containing individual ballots and show each to two volunteers — one each from the Cabán and Katz campaigns.

The volunteers scrutinized each ballot to make sure it was marked correctly.

Lawyers for the dueling campaigns — longtime Queens County Democratic party attorney Frank Bolz for Katz and veteran election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder for Cabán — nervously patrolled the aisle between tables.

Volunteers summoned the lawyers to their tables whenever a question arose.

Neither candidate was present at the count.

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