Absentee Ballot Counting Ends in N.Y., but Court Fights Remain

Posted April 17, 2009 at 10:21am

Updated: 5:37 p.m.

With the counting of domestic and overseas absentee ballots completed on Friday afternoon, Democrat Scott Murphy pushed his lead to 273 votes in New York’s 20th district special election.

As of Friday, Murphy had garnered 79,839 votes to Republican James Tedisco’s 79,566, according to the New York State Board of Elections. The only votes not included in those totals are nearly 1,600 ballots that the two campaigns have challenged.

As of Friday afternoon, both sides were preparing to return to court on Monday when the legal wrangling over challenged ballots will continue. But because Tedisco has challenged the majority of those ballots, Murphy’s camp was confident the outcome of any court action over ballots won’t change the result of the race.

“People deserve nothing less than having their votes counted in a timely manner, so they can be represented in Congress as quickly as possible in these tough economic times,— said Henry Berger, Murphy’s election lawyer. “We are very confident that once all the absentee ballots are counted, Scott Murphy will win this election.—

Still, Tedisco attorney James Walsh, who has repeatedly claimed that Murphy benefitted from absentee voters who no longer live in the district, expressed a desire to fight on.

“After two weeks of counting the votes, the one thing that remains certain is that this continues to be a remarkably close race and every vote matters,— Walsh said in a statement Friday afternoon. “On Monday, we intend to make our case before the judge that this important election should be decided by the lawful voters of the 20th Congressional district and not by residents of New York City.—