Congressional Race In 22nd District New York–Observer Dispatch Utica NY


Tenney-Brindisi NY22: Signature matching becomes focus of judicial review

Steve HoweObserver-Dispatch

Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney

In the judicial review of contested ballots in New York’s 22nd Congressional District, only one county remains. 

State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte finished reviewing more than 300 contested ballots from Broome County Tuesday. When the review continues Wednesday, contested ballots from Oneida County will be brought before the judge. 

There has been no update to the state of the race, with Republican Claudia Tenney leading Democrat Anthony Brindisi by 29 votes. No change in the unofficial results of the race is expected until DelConte makes his ruling. 

The first allegation of fraud was presented during the judicial review Tuesday, by Tenney’s attorneys. An affidavit ballot in Broome County, which was mentioned in legal filings submitted New Year’s Eve, was deemed fraudulent by the New Hartford Republican’s attorneys as the voter’s last name, address and signature didn’t match their voter information on file. 

The Broome County Board of Elections didn’t count the allegedly fraudulent ballot during its canvass. 

In its legal filing and in court Tuesday, Brindisi’s attorneys argued the ballot had a different name and address because the voter married and moved. While the first name was signed with a first and middle initial rather than the full first name, there was precedent in signature records for the inclusion of the middle initial. The first initial also matched other signatures on file for the voter, Brindisi’s legal team argued. 

The voter completed the date of birth, driver’s license number and change of address forms as well, Brindisi’s attorneys said. 

Signature matching was common during the review of ballots, with some maintained by either legal team and some objections withdrawn. 

More:New Congress begins without NY-22 House member amid ballot-by-ballot review

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More:Affidavit ballot issues take center stage in NY22 judicial review

DelConte approved another member to Brindisi’s legal team Tuesday as well, Marc Elias, a partner at Perkins Coie. Elias served as general counsel to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and John Kerry in 2004. 

The ballot-by-ballot review, which began Nov. 23, now moves to Oneida County. A proposed schedule from Brindisi’s attorneys, requested by the court, would see the process wrap up by Wednesday, Jan. 13. 

The proposed schedule hinges on completing the review of Oneida County ballots by Thursday, with legal arguments Friday. The county boards of elections would canvass the ballots permitted by DelConte’s decision Monday, Jan. 11, with machine tabulation of the ballots the following day. 

Steve Howe is the city reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. For unlimited access to his stories, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. Email Steve Howe at showe@gannett.com.