Ruling means Senate ballots will be counted

Amedore holds 37-vote lead

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
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Cecilia Tkaczyk, a Democrat, and George Amedore, a Republican, opponents in the 46th state Senate District race.
Cecilia Tkaczyk, a Democrat, and George Amedore, a Republican, opponents in the 46th state Senate District race.

— The prolonged battle between former Republican Assemblyman George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk in the 46th Senate District could be over by the end of the week.

Just 100 ballots are left to be dealt with following Wednesday’s decision from the state Court of Appeals not to hear any additional legal challenges.

As a result of that ruling, 99 previously invalidated ballots, which were deemed valid by a mid-level state appeals court, could be counted by the end of the week. Ulster County, where almost all of the votes are from, has tentatively planned the count to start Friday morning.

Amedore, R-Rotterdam, currently has a 37-vote lead over Tkaczyk.

Amedore’s legal team had requested a chance to argue before the state’s top court that the 99 votes shouldn’t be counted. Tkaczyk’s legal team advanced its own motion to have more than the 99 votes counted. The state Court of Appeals decided not to hear any of the arguments.

The lone dissent was from Justice Victoria Graffeo, a Republican appointee, who argued that further review was needed..

‘Amedore spokesman Kris Thompson said they accepted the court’s decision and expected the lengthy contest to be over soon.

“We anticipate the remaining 99 ballots will be counted by the end of this week,” Thompson said in a statement. “We look forward to the final counting and we remain confident.”

The Tkaczyk campaign said it looked forward to resolving the process and letting voters have their voices heard.

It is anticipated that the 99 ballots, because of who cast them and which side challenged them, will trend in favor of Tkaczyk. That includes 53 ballots from Ulster County election workers, with 34 coming from Democrats and 19 from Republicans.

Also in the mix now is an absentee ballot found in Montgomery County, according to Tkaczyk attorney Frank Hoare, who learned about the additional vote Wednesday morning.

It’s possible the ballot will be the subject of additional legal wrangling, considering how tight the race is.

There is also the possibility that legal challenges could arise from the remaining ballots, as the initial challenges stemmed from the qualifications of the voters. Future challenges could be based on problems such as a stray mark on a ballot, which calls into question the voter’s intent.

In the event of a tie, which would be classified as a failure to elect, the race is decided by a special election, which would be ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

All of Montgomery and Greene counties and parts of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties make up the 46th District.

The balance of the state Senate was initially expected to hinge on the race, but Senate Republicans and a handful of renegade Democrats have put together a power-sharing deal, made formal last week.

 

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