Tedisco Currently Ahead; Judge Rules Against His Effort To Delay Counting Absentees

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The latest numbers have been posted in the NY-20 special election, with Republican candidate Jim Tedisco ahead by 97 votes, as the counties go through the process of correcting errors in their spreadsheets.

Democratic candidate Scott Murphy had ended Election Night up by 65 votes, but the numbers have swung around since then. The state’s official numbers from Friday had shown an exact tie, with Murphy then picking up votes in one county later in the day and another as of today. But obviously, Tedisco has made up the difference somewhere else.

This doesn’t include any of the nearly 7,000 absentee ballots that have been returned so far, though, which brings us to the next piece of news: Dutchess County Judge James V. Brands has handed down an order that absentee ballots other than the military and overseas votes are to be counted on Wednesday, ruling against Tedisco’s efforts to delay the count.Tedisco’s attorney had argued today that the regular absentees should be counted with the overseas and military ballots, which are in turn due to arrive next week under a consent decree that the state entered into with the Department of Justice to extend the deadline for the latter voters’ ballots to come in the mail.

By contrast, Murphy’s wants those ballots opened and put into the score as soon as possible.

Judge Brands writes:

While this court agrees with counsel that there should be no rush in this process to the detriment of a fair and accurate account, it occurs tot his court that both the candidates and the constituency they serve are entitled to a prompt resolution of this contested election which apparently is in a deadlock with each candidate having the same number of votes. This court has reviewed the consent decree of March 26, 2009 relating to those qualified under UOCAVA. While the language contained therein is somewhat imprecise, it is difficult for this court to imagine that it was the intent of the federal government to delay canvassing of absentee ballots which are not included within those defined under the consent decree.

Late Update: Scott Murphy’s attorney Henry Berger released this statement:

“We’re pleased with today’s court ruling ensuring domestic absentee ballots will begin being counted this week,” said Henry T. Berger. “The people of the 20th Congressional District need their votes counted in a timely manner, so they can be represented in Congress as quickly as possible in these tough economic times. We are confident that once all the absentee ballots are counted, Scott Murphy will win this election.”

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