Friday, November 16, 2012

Is GOP stalling the count in tight Senate races

A new, post-election front has opened in two key state Senate battles that is centered on how quickly officials should open thousands of paper ballots.

Democrats say Republican officials are trying to stall the counting, set to begin next week in the 41st and 46th districts, as part of a deliberate attempt to keep Cecilia Tkaczyk and Terry Gipson, two Democratic candidates who finished ahead on election night, from being certified as winners before the Senate reconvenes in January.

Republican attorneys are protesting an order issued Tuesday by Montgomery County Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson that would allow counting to be done simultaneously in different parts of the 46th District, which covers five counties between Amsterdam and Kingston. Over 10,000 absentee and affidavit ballots are yet to be opened. Tkaczyk currently leads Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, by 139 votes.

In the 41st District, where Gipson leads Republican Sen. Steve Saland by a margin of 1,600 votes, a Republican election official proposed waiting until after Thanksgiving to open absentee ballots, and focusing first on a district where GOP Sen. Greg Ball leads Democratic challenger Justin Wagner.

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