local_utica, ny: Tenney Leads by 122

NY22: Tenney increases lead over Brindisi to 122 votes

Steve HoweObserver-Dispatch0:260:52

Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney

After 1,097 affidavit ballots were canvassed in Oneida County, Republican Claudia Tenney’s unofficial lead in the race grew by 93 votes in the race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District. 

Tenney now leads Democrat Anthony Brindisi by 122 votes, with a final canvass of votes scheduled to begin Monday. 

Affidavit ballots were canvassed this week for error correction on the order of state Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte after it was discovered that 2,418 online voter registration applications that arrived before the state deadline were not processed in Oneida County. 

All told, 393 additional affidavit ballots were opened and counted from those administratively rejected by the Oneida County Board of Elections in previous canvasses. Tenney received 232 votes, while Brindisi received 139 and Libertarian Keith Price received 2. 

Another 61 ballots were not counted, but preserved for additional judicial review due to objections from the campaigns. 

Brindisi filed an appeal in the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division on Jan. 20, contesting only 69 affidavit ballots challenged by his campaign during the canvass could be reviewed for error correction. His path to victory may not rest in an appeal. 

DelConte’s ruling

With the error correction of affidavit ballots complete in Oneida County, DelConte issued a 23-page ruling in the overall judicial review Friday. A total of 1,188 ballots were challenged by either campaign during the canvass of ballots in the eight counties within the congressional district. 

Over the course of the judicial review, which began Nov. 23, 533 of those challenges were withdrawn, 43 were resolved by stipulation between the legal teams for the candidates, and three were not preserved for the court. 

The remaining 609 came before DelConte, who affirmed 470 of the rulings and overruled the remaining 139.  

DelConte’s ruling was a blow to a trio of Brindisi arguments involving dozens of votes. 

Brindisi’s legal team pushed to count 93 ballots from voters in “purged” or “purged incomplete” status, 128 ballots cast by voters in the wrong polling site on Election Day and 51 absentee ballots dropped at other county boards of elections then forwarded after Election Day. All of those arguments were rejected by DelConte. 

Tenney’s argument to toss 92 Madison County absentee ballots dropped off at polling sites in Madison County on Election Day due to Nov. 4 timestamps, despite evidence and testimony they were received timely, was similarly dismissed by DelConte. 

A total of 17 different legal arguments on the status of ballots were reviewed by DelConte in his ruling, ranging from extraneous marks to improperly sealed ballots.

DelConte said the court cannot order a new election or recount, and neither party has requested it. Once they complete any final canvass requirements, county boards of elections can certify their results, three months after Election Day. 

“Despite the severity of the transgressions that have been uncovered in this proceeding, including multiple violations of state and federal Election Law, this Court has no authority to grant any other relief other than ordering the Boards of Elections to perform ‘any duty imposed by law’ relating to their canvassing of ballots … and ruling upon the ballot challenges that are properly before it,” DelConte said in his ruling. 

More:NY-22: Harassing texts sent to judge in Brindisi/Tenney case

Monday’s canvass

With no errors to correct, the Tioga County Board of Elections can certify its results in the congressional election immediately, DelConte ruled. 

The other counties will need to canvass and cast ballots in Oswego County Supreme Court on Monday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. In most counties, the number of votes to canvass is relatively few. 

Broome County will need to cast and canvass seven ballots, as well as determine if another ballot was cast by an eligible voter. The board also will need to remove 29 votes from its tally that were cast at the wrong polling site and previously deemed valid. 

Chenango County has 24 ballots to cast and canvass Monday and will need to include four more votes previously invalidated. 

Cortland County has just one ballot to cast and canvass Monday. Herkimer County similarly has one ballot to cast and canvass Monday, while adding two more votes previously invalidated due to extraneous marks. 

Madison County has five votes to cast and canvass, while nine votes will be removed from its tally due to being dropped off at the wrong board of elections.   

Oneida County has 12 votes to cast and canvass on Monday, while 10 votes will be removed from its tally. Oswego County has four votes to count and canvass Monday, with an additional two votes to be added to its tally due to unintentional marks. 

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.