Brindisi, Tenney Race May Not Be Decided Before Start of 117th Congress
Continued delays in the review of ballots cast two months ago in one New York county could mean the state’s 22nd Congressional District will go without representation at the start of 117th Congress in January.
During a State Supreme Court hearing on Monday, officials from Oneida County informed Justice Scott DelConte that their review of ballots cast in the race will likely not be completed until the middle of next week.
The county officials did not explain why their review was taking so long. They have about 1,500 contested ballots to review, having already gone through 250, according to an attorney for Brindisi.
Incumbent Democrat Anthony Brindisi and his Republican challenger, Claudia Tenney, have been waging a courtroom battle for more than a month to determine the winner of the contest.
Justice DelConte had hoped to wrap the matter up before Christmas, but said Monday that he is waiting to rule on disputed ballots until eight of the counties that comprise the district have updated their vote counts.
The eight counties were ordered to re-submit a small number of contested ballots for the court’s consideration due to issues uncovered during court hearings in late November and early December.
The judge and attorneys for both campaigns had problems reviewing the contested ballots when it came time to argue for why they should or should not count, prompting DelConte to tell counties to start the process over in some cases.
“I’m personally disappointed that we’re talking about doing this early next year,” DelConte said from the bench. “I think we all know what that means for the voters of the 22nd Congressional District. I wish there was something I could do.”
Tenney currently leads Brindisi by just 19 ballots of more than 300,000 cast. DelConte ordered the eight counties to finish up a review of disputed affidavit and absentee ballots by Jan. 3 — the day the new Congress is to be sworn in.
The parties for both campaigns will meet again Tuesday in DelConte’s courtroom to weigh in on ballots they’ve contested, though no final rulings will be issued until Oneida County gets its ballots in order, the judge said.
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