Down to the wire

Senate count tightens slowly in 46th

Appeal likely from the loser

Friday, December 14, 2012
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Lawyers for Republican Assemblyman George Amedore review a paper ballot at the Ulster County Board of Elections headquarters in Kingston last month.
Lawyers for Republican Assemblyman George Amedore review a paper ballot at the Ulster County Board of Elections headquarters in Kingston last month.

— Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk only cut her deficit to Republican Assemblyman George Amedore by a little more than half on Friday in the 46th Senate District.

Heading into the day, Amedore had a lead of 111 votes, with about 250 previously contested ballots from Albany, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster counties scheduled to be counted. At the end of the day, Tkaczyk had picked up 64 votes, cutting Amedore’s lead to 47.

On Monday, Greene County is scheduled to count about 125 previously contested ballots.

For Tkaczyk to take the lead after this process, she would have to win about 70 percent of the remaining ballots in the county, which Amedore won easily on Election Day. Of the remaining ballots, a slim majority were initially challenged by Tkaczyk’s attorney.

After the remaining votes are counted, Tkaczyk’s campaign has indicated they will likely appeal the rulings on certain absentee and affidavit ballots that were counted.

“This counting is far from over,” said Tkaczyk spokesman Gary Ginsburg.

He signaled there are hundreds of ballots that could be reviewed again, including votes by Ulster County Democratic and Republican election inspectors whose votes weren’t counted because they followed incorrect procedures from the county’s Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners.

“When all the votes are counted, Cecilia Tkaczyk will be certified the winner of this election,” Ginsburg added.

Amedore spokesman Kris Thompson said the potential appeal from Tkaczyk’s campaign showed they expected to lose. In the wake of the latest count, he added that Amedore was poised and qualified to start representing the 46th Senate District.

Once Greene County finishes counting, acting state Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson, who has been overseeing the counting of absentee and affidavit ballots, will hear final arguments in the case. After that, either side can appeal his rulings during this process, which has included whether certain contested affidavit and absentee ballots should be counted.

If there is an appeal it is possible that more votes could be counted, no additional votes will be counted or some votes already counted will be tossed out.

It’s not clear how long this process will take, with some past election appeals being drawn out for weeks. But the Tkaczyk campaign was confident an appeal could be concluded quickly, based on the speed of previous proceedings in this race.

Finishing this process quickly became less important recently when a power sharing agreement was reached in the state Senate to give majority control to the Republicans in league with a few renegade Senate Democrats. Before this coalition was established, the fate of the chamber hinged on the 46th District race. Now the winner will only impact the margin of control in the chamber.

 

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