NY Judge Orders Partial Recount in Undecided Congressional Race

NY Judge Orders Partial Recount in Undecided Congressional Race
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) and Claudia Tenney. (U.S. House of Representatives; Claudia Tenney's campaign)
Zachary Stieber

A judge in New York ordered a partial recount in an undecided U.S. House of Representatives race that had a margin of just 12 votes in the congressional district’s unofficial count.

New York Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte, a Democrat, ordered eight counties in the state to conduct a recount.

The Boards of Elections in the counties were ordered “to fulfill their statutory canvassing duties, immediately correct all of the canvassing errors, and, where their errors cannot be corrected, recanvass those ballots,” DelConte wrote.

The ruling was a win for incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), who was pushing the judge to order a recount, arguing that the unofficial count wasn’t justified because some ballots weren’t counted.

Claudia Tenney, the Republican challenger and former representative, asked the judge to certify the election, which would have given her the seat representing New York’s 22nd Congressional District.

DelConte said there are an “incredible number” of uncounted ballots at issue, prompting him to order the recanvassing. They include 67 ballots in Chenango County, at least 55 of which were found in a drawer in the county’s Board of Elections office.

The court’s role, the judge said, is to enforce the law, make sure voters’ rights are safeguarded, and maintain confidence in the electoral process.

A voter fills out a ballot at Kings Theater in New York City on Nov. 3, 2020. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
A voter fills out a ballot at Kings Theater in New York City on Nov. 3, 2020. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

“Fundamentally, election integrity requires two things: uniformity and transparency. Accordingly, the only proper result here is to remand all of the challenged and uncanvassed ballots back to the Boards of Elections with specific orders directing the boards to publicly correct their errors and fulfill their statutory duties by properly canvassing—or, where necessary, recanvassing—each and every single ballot,” he wrote in the order.

A conference on the case is scheduled for lawyers representing the parties on Dec. 18.

“Today’s decision affirmatively rejected Brindisi’s attempt to have only votes favorable to his campaign counted,” Tenney campaign spokesman Sean Kennedy said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times. “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.”

Brindisi called the ruling “a win for the people of the 22nd District,” adding in a statement, “As I’ve said all along, the voters of this community deserve to have their voices heard.”

The race is one of two that remain uncalled.

In an Iowa race for a U.S. House seat, a slim margin of victory for Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks prompted Democrat Rita Hart to announce plans to file a petition to the House that will contest the results.

Federal law allows candidates to challenge elections to the House, which typically rejects the contests but in rare cases will investigate and decide which candidate won.

According to current projections and certified results, Republicans made a net gain of 10 seats in the House. Not counting the two races in question, Democrats will hold a 222–211 majority in the next Congress.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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