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What you need to know for 01/18/2017

Court stops ballot counting in 46th Senate District race

Court stops ballot counting in 46th Senate District race

The counting of 99 more votes in the 46th Senate District has been put on hold at least until next w

The counting of 99 more votes in the 46th Senate District has been put on hold at least until next week.

The state Court of Appeals on Thursday granted a motion from former Republican Assemblyman George Amedore’s legal team to hold off counting the votes until the court can decide whether it wants to hear an appeal in the case. Amedore currently leads Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk by 37 votes.

The state Supreme Court Third Department’s Appellate Division ruled on Wednesday that about one-third of the ballots invalidated by acting state Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson should be counted. That decision was expected to help Tkaczyk’s vote count, based on who cast the 99 ballots.

Tkaczyk’s campaign has until Monday to respond to Amedore’s request for an appeal. Tkaczyk’s lawyers can request their own appeal, on the grounds that additional invalidated ballots should have been ruled valid, or they can argue that no appeal should be heard at all.

The state Court of Appeals is expected to rule on whether they will hear an appeal next week; it would be heard if two justices on the court approve. Four of the five justices on the bench were appointed by Republicans.

If a motion to appeal is granted, arguments aren’t expected to be heard until the court’s February session, unless they decide to convene a special session.

Amedore spokesman Kris Thompson would not comment on the case or the election until after the legal process is concluded. Tkaczyk campaign spokesman Gary Ginsburg said they respected the judicial process and hope for a speedy resolution.

If the court decides not to hear an appeal, it is possible that votes could be opened by the end of next week. If ballots are opened next week, it is possible that legal objections to the ballots, like stray marks, could still be raised.

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

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