Friday, November 30, 2012

Tight Senate race lands in court

FONDA — The first arguments over disputed ballots in a close state Senate race will take place next week, a judge said.

But it's unclear when any of the 877 legally disputed ballots in the contest between Republican Assemblyman George Amedore of Rotterdam and Duanesburg Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk will be opened.

Acting Montgomery County Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson set a schedule during a Thursday hearing. The ballots were set aside after a two-week count of absentee and affidavit votes in the 46th Senate District, which stretches from Amsterdam to Kingston through Schenectady, Albany and Greene counties.

Amedore currently leads Tkaczyk by 110 votes. His attorneys, however, initiated approximately 680 of the 877 objections, mostly in Ulster and Greene counties.

Attorneys representing the candidates said they would outline the legal theories behind their objections by the end of Friday, and would argue them in court Monday. By then, the campaigns planned to categorize their objections by type — an incomplete address, a questionable signature — and perhaps winnow down the number of disputed ballots by bilateral agreement.

Hearings on the remaining ballots, which might involve testimony from handwriting experts and a review of utility bills to establish a person's true residence, could stretch for weeks and almost certainly will not begin next week. No one would predict how long the counting could last.

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