NY-22: Harassing texts sent to judge in Brindisi/Tenney case
The rancor that was so prevalent in the recent presidential campaign seems to have spilled into the court case to decide who will represent New York’s 22nd Congressional District.
State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte, who is overseeing the judicial review of contested ballots in the razor-tight race between Democrat Anthony Brindisi and Republican Claudia Tenney, has received several harassing text messages trying to influence his decision.
The messages came to light in a court filing Thursday via a letter from DelConte’s principal law clerk related to texts sent to the judge. The clerk read the messages, though DelConte had not, and copies were included in the letter.
The texts accused DelConte of violating the Constitution and looking for votes to benefit Brindisi.
“STOP LOOKING FOR DEMOCRAT VOTES,” a text message said. “SHES WON.”
DelConte’s clerk said any further “inappropriate communications” from the sender would result in intervention from the chief court officer.
The texts reflect a growing trend of threats and other harassment against judges and other elected officials around the country. On Jan. 6, a mob of pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol building as Congress was certifying the Electoral College ballots.
Last year, judges on a power federal appeals court endured an onslaught of harassing and profane calls to their offices by people unhappy with the views they expressed during oral arguments in another politically charged case.
“Criticism is part of the job; we’re used to it, and it doesn’t impact how we decide cases,” Judge David McKeague told the Washington Post in a Sept. 18 story. McKeague, who leads the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Judicial Security and serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, said the concern is when the criticism “veers from being unhappy about a decision a judge makes to all of a sudden becoming, ‘You’re evil, biased or incompetent.’ ”
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 email@example.com.
Syracuse Local Sys.com Posted: Jan 29, 2021 / 06:50 AM EST / Updated: Jan 29, 2021 / 09:39 AM EST
(WSYR-TV) — The battle for New York’s 22nd congressional district continues Friday. State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte will release his decision on ballots previously rejected by boards of elections but were challenged by both campaigns.Battle for the 22nd: Complete Coverage
Ballots ordered to count will be canvassed at the courthouse on Monday.
The Issue Explained:
NY-22 Court Legal Battle: Judge DelConte Angry And One Attorney Gets Removed For Using The F-Word In Court
Souce: HotAir JOHN SEXTON Posted at 3:00 pm on January 4, 2021SHARE ON FACEBOOKSHARE ON TWITTER
As I pointed out last week, continued vote counting in the NY-22 race put Republican Claudia Tenney back in the lead by about 30 votes. But that total is unofficial until Judge DelConte rules which ballots will be counted and which won’t be. Today, DelConte returned to work and is reportedly going through nearly 2,000 disputed ballots one by one. Reporter Andrew Donovan was covering the action and noted that Judge DelConte quickly got angry with the attorney for Democrat Anthony Brindisi.
There was an excellent primer published by Syracuse.com yesterday which helps explain what the judge is angry about:
Some voters in the 22nd District voted in the wrong polling site and wrong voting district. Brindisi’s attorneys say those votes should count. The voters were allowed to vote by affidavit or provisional ballots. Those are paper ballots given to voters at polling sites when their names or signatures are missing from poll books.
The 2019 election law made it possible to still count ballots cast in the wrong voting district as long as the person voted at the correct polling site. A common scenario is they show up to a polling place that is hosting more than one voting district covering several lower-level races. They could end up in the wrong line, which Brindisi’s attorneys said amounts to voting in the “right church” but “wrong pew.”
Additionally, Brindisi’s attorneys are arguing that voters who voted in the wrong polling site should not lose their votes, saying that poll workers should have informed them that their votes were cast in error.
By casting this as an error made by poll workers, Brindisi’s attorney is essentially saying the voters themselves should be forgiven. But Tenney’s camp takes the opposite view arguing that voting in the wrong place is an error by the voter and is their responsibility not that of the poll worker. A county election commissioner said Tenney’s view is closer to the current interpretation of state law.
Czarny, the Onondaga County election commissioner, thinks Brindisi will have a hard time convincing the judge.
“I think that’s going to be a tougher lift. By the way, I think that should be the law. That’s a reform that I have personally advocated for,” he said. “… But that has been litigated many times and I have not seen it be successful. … It is pretty clear in New York election law that you have to be in the right polling place.”
So that’s why Judge DelConte is upset. The law says the voter has to be at the right polling site and Brindisi’s attorney is arguing for so much latitude that, potentially, a voter could show up at any polling place in the state and still have their vote count.
And this pattern repeats with other contested ballots. Brindisi’s camp wants to overlook voter errors of every possible kind and Tenney wants the judge to stick to the law.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creator
Tensions are clearly running high. As I was writing this another update appeared. An attorney has just been removed for cursing in the virtual courtroom