Judge Rules Against Brindisi on Ballots in NY Congressional Race

February 1, 2021 by Dan McCue
Republican Claudia Tenney is challenging Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, in the November election in the 22nd Congressional District.

One could almost hear incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi sigh as he typed a tweet early last week.

“Unfortunately, this is a long process,” he said of the legal battle and ongoing ballot count that will ultimately decide the outcome of one of the 2020 election cycle’s last two outstanding contests.

“But I am hopeful that at the end of it, we will come out on top,” he added.

Brindisi’s hopes took a substantial hit on Friday, when New York State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte ruled against counting dozens of ballots the congressman wanted included in the final tabulation.

The ruling, coupled with the outcome of a recount in Oneida County, N.Y., meant Republican Claudia Tenney, who last week led the race by a meager 29 votes, now has a 122 vote edge.

Despite the bad news, Brindisi has an appeal pending and political observers say it may well be April before a winner can be declared in the congressional race.

In the meantime, the participants in 2020’s other contested election — to represent Iowa’s Second Congressional District — are still waiting for the U.S. House to take a look at the race and determine a winner.

Iowa election officials have certified Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks to be the winner after a recount that put her ahead by just six votes.

But Democrat Rita Hart continues to fight on, contending in her petition to the House that 22 rejected votes should have been counted and, had they been, it would have given her the victory.

Last week, Miller-Meeks filed to get the petition thrown out.

Meanwhile, in Upstate New York, DelConte held Friday that he would not order officials in the congressional district to count several categories of votes that Brindisi hoped would erase his deficit.

The judge ruled officials do not have to count 128 ballots cast by voters who voted in the right election district, but the wrong polling place.

Also not to be counted, DelConte said, are 85 ballots from voters who were listed as “purged” in the state voter database, and 51 ballots from voters who dropped their absentee ballots in a ballot box outside their election district.

An additional 20 ballots were tossed because they were cast in the wrong county.

However, the 32-page ruling wasn’t all bad news for Brindisi. Del Conte will allow 92 absentee ballots from Madison County, N.Y., to be counted.

Those votes were challenged by Tenney’s team, but the judge said they should remain part of the total.

As a result, Brindisi didn’t gain any votes from Madison County, but he didn’t lose any either.

DelConte also rejected Tenney’s objections on 62 ballots alleging that the signatures on the ballot did not match signatures in a state voter database.

Officials from each of the eight counties that make up New York’s 22nd district were scheduled to meet in DelConte’s courtroom on Monday for one last review of ballots whose validity is still being questioned.

Last week, Brinidisi’s team remained steadfast.

In a statement posted to Twitter it said, “Former congresswoman Tenney has spent the weeks after the election spreading false conspiracy theories, fanning the flames of division, and trying to get legal ballots thrown out.

“This case has demonstrated she has no desire to serve the community — just her own political ambition.

“The integrity, accuracy, and efficiency of this process has always been the Brindisi campaign’s priority. We are hopeful that once all the legal ballots are counted, Anthony will be certified the winner,” the statement said.

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