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Queens Chronicle

Recount ends with Katz ahead by slight margin

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2019 3:37 pm

Borough President Melinda Katz will be the likely winner of the laborious hand recount of ballots cast in the Queens district attorney’s race, a lawyer for her opponent, insurgent Tiffany Cabán, said Thursday.

He predicted the margin will be 50-60 votes when the tally is certified early next week by the Board of Elections.

“This is a step in the process that will now go to court,” said Jerry Goldfeder, the election lawyer for the Cabán campaign.

As he spoke to reporters, the final ballots of more than 91,000 votes cast last month in the primary election were being tabulated, marking the end of a grueling, three-week review.

The battle is expected to move now to Queens County state Supreme Court on Aug. 6, where a specially appointed judge from Brooklyn is expected to rule on the validity of more than 200 disputed ballots.

Katz, nevertheless, declared victory in the race shortly after the hand count ended. 

 “Now that every valid vote has been counted and recounted, the results confirm once again that the people of Queens have chosen Melinda Katz as the Democratic nominee for District Attorney,” said Andrew Kirtzman, a spokesman for Katz.

The recount that began July 10 in a BOE storage facility in Middle Village ended just a little after 11 a.m. when the last ballot — it was marked as a vote for Katz — was recorded and returned to storage.

“I want to emphasize that this race is not over,” Cabán told reporters outside the recount facility.

“We are going to continue to fight to make sure that every single vote is counted.

“There are hundred of ballots cast by registered and eligible Queens Democrats that were wrongly invalidated. 

“Our campaign will be in court to protect Queens voters from being disenfranchised.”

At issue will be two sets of disputed ballots totalling around 200 votes, enough to sway the final outcome.

The Cabán campaign is asking the judge to validate 114 affidavit ballots that were never opened by the BOE because the voters failed to fill out a line declaring their party affiliation as Democrat.

As well, about 100 ballots that were cast on primary day but marked in a questionable manner are being challenged by both sides.

The BOE is expected to release its final tally next Tuesday, after a final review of all 18 Assembly districts in the county and a certification vote by the full board. 

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