WNYT.com

Court fight continues in 46th Senate race

Posted at: 01/07/2013 11:56 AM
Updated at: 01/07/2013 6:30 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - Before the Supreme Court Appellate Division heard lawyers' arguments late Monday morning, some of the voters whose ballots haven't been counted stood outside to complain.

"I think it's very important that each vote get counted," said Carole Furman, an Ulster County elections worker. "That's what our democracy is founded on."

"My vote has been invalidated by a lower court and county I do not live in based on a petition of people I do not know who claim that some hyper-technical, inconsequential and I believe contrived flaw invalidated my vote," said Matthew Rudikoff.

There are several categories of cast ballots that haven't been counted according to a ruling from a Montgomery County judge.

Most troubling to the appeals judges appeared to be ballots that were sent early to election workers and then voted and returned.

So far those votes haven't been counted, although the appeals judges suggested that wasn't the correct interpretation of the law. Most of the uncounted ballots were sent to Democrats, making it very likely Tkazcyk would regain the lead if those votes are counted.

Good news for the Tkazcyk forces.          

"If this voter is eligible, qualified, then their vote should be counted," argued Tkaczyk's attorney, James Long.

But the Amedore side argues counting the excluded 331 ballots is unfair to the 126-thousand who got it right.

"So if the voter fails to put their address they registered to, or they failed to vote in a timely manner, or failed to vote the way they're supposed to, they're not entitled to have that ballot cast," Amedore attorney David Lewis told the court.

The Appellate Court has promised a quick decision. Whatever they determine is likely to be further appealed to the state's highest tribunal, the Court of Appeals. Although Amedore has signed documents indicating he is ready to serve, neither he nor Tkaczyk is expected to take the State Senate floor and vote until the case is finally resolved by the courts.