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Dec 9, 2010 11:01 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Judge Orders That 161 Ballots Be Counted, Prepares Ruling On 1st District Race

Dec 9, 2010 11:01 AM

On Wednesday afternoon, a State Supreme Court judge ruled that 161 paper ballots that were not scanned on Election Day for technical reasons should be counted, bolstering the lead of U.S. Representative Tim Bishop in the race against his challenger, Randy Altschuler.

At the hearing, which has held at Suffolk County Board of Elections headquarters in Yaphank, Mr. Altschuler’s attorney, Vincent J. Messina, argued that the ballots could have been tampered with because election workers did not handle them properly on Election Day, and thus should not be counted. But Justice Peter H. Mayer eventually sided with Mr. Bishop’s campaign, stating: “Actions by the board, ministerial actions or errors, should not be used to disenfranchise the voter, absent some objective evidence of fraud.”

Justice Mayer ordered that the ballots be counted, and granted Mr. Messina’s request that the ballots then be sealed in case they need to be reviewed again during a future appeal. The ballots gave Mr. Bishop a net gain of 12 votes, putting his lead at 259 votes, according to his spokesman, Jon Schneider.

The decision came after Justice Mayer reviewed the workings of the new voting machines, which were used for the first time this year, and how election workers handled the unscanned ballots. Attorneys for both campaigns agreed on the basic facts of what went wrong on Election Day.

The ballots, which the machines could not scan for whatever reason Election Day on November 2 in “a host” of election districts, were slipped into special slots in the machines. Election workers were supposed to attempt to feed the ballots into the machines later on Election Day, but some did not, instead putting them in plastic bags and sending them in locked suitcases to Board of Elections headquarters that night. The plastic bags were not officially sealed, as they should have been, the attorneys said. The suitcases were opened in the days following Election Day, and the ballots were set aside at Board of Elections headquarters, where they were guarded by Suffolk County Police.

Mr. Messina had told the judge that he had no reason to believe the ballots were tampered with, but said that a “chain of custody” could not be established, leaving open the possibility of fraud in the time before the suitcases were delivered to Board of Elections headquarters on Election Day.

Garrett W. Swenson, the attorney for Republican Board of Elections Commissioner Wayne T. Rogers, also argued that the unscanned ballots should not be counted, while John J. Leo, the attorney for Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner Anita S. Katz, argued that they should be counted.

Additionally, attorneys said that election workers discovered nine unscanned ballots that were left sitting inside the machines after Election Day, while the machines sat at a warehouse at Board of Elections headquarters. Those ballots were counted sometime before the hearing, with four votes going to Mr. Bishop, four going to Mr. Altschuler, and one going to neither candidate, the attorneys said. On Wednesday, election workers were continuing to search other machines for any more unscanned ballots that were overlooked.

Now that the 161 unscanned ballots have been counted, several hundred other contested ballots are all that remain in the race, which attorneys said is the last undecided congressional race in the country. The attorneys have agreed to drop certain challenges in recent days, and negotiations are expected to continue over which additional ones to drop.

Mr. Bishop’s campaign has more than 500 challenges outstanding, according to Mr. Bishop’s attorney, Thomas Garry, and Mr. Altschuler’s campaign has more than 1,000 challenges outstanding, according to Mr. Messina. About half of each campaign’s challenges are based on issues of voter residency, the attorneys said, adding that they were not immediately prepared to start arguing those matters because their teams were still compiling research on the voters in question. Mr. Messina told Justice Mayer that he would be prepared to begin arguing that issue on Monday.

In the meantime, the Board of Elections commissioners for both parties have ruled on several hundred contested ballots and have issued split decisions on most of them, according to the attorneys. Those split decisions will be passed on to Justice Mayer for rulings. The judge said on Wednesday that he would return to Board of Elections headquarters on Thursday morning to begin deciding on some ballots that were not contested on issues of voter residency.

During the hearing, Mr. Messina suggested that Mr. Altschuler may choose to concede at some point, saying, “We may reach certain mathematical conclusions.”

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End this-Randy lost. It does not matter by how many votes.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 30, 10 4:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Either way, it won't be much longer.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 30, 10 4:51 PM
So in the past week, all that's been accomplished as of this evening is (1) 71 military ballots counted, (2) campaigns each dropped 100 challenges (out of more than 2,000), and (3) the BOE commishes ONLY TODAY started looking at the remaining 2,000 contested ballots? That's pathetic. If anyone can explain why this is moving so slowly, I would greatly appreciate it.
By CoweeDewey (110), East Quogue on Nov 30, 10 6:07 PM
Hmmmm...are there Board of Elections people who are temps (politically connected temps}?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 1, 10 12:50 AM
yeah.. thats it... they are all in on it.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Dec 2, 10 10:41 PM
Because this is a left leaning paper with their favorites
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Nov 30, 10 8:35 PM
That story should actually read, "One absentee vote of 438 shown to be fraudulent." While the Fox News article (to which I cannot provide a link because the Press will erase the comment), states that 48 people have double registrations, only one voted twice. Are the remaining 47 therefore guilty of committing a felony? Hardly, the most common causes of double registration are absent-mindedness, laziness and government bureaucracy. Without any mens rea (evil intent), there is no crime. The question ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 30, 10 8:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yo- except HHS- you got it-please read today's whbqt.info blog.
This isn't the first voter fraud reported to the Board of Elections. The first offenders are our patronage government workers who have YET to address or acknowledge voter fraud that occurred three years ago.
Now for the math of Faux news-- this is really about fortyeight votes, not 438, isn't it? That's FOX distraction and sensationalism at its worst. It makes me sick.
Seems to me 48 votes won't change the outcome; although ...more
By Jean (79), whb on Nov 30, 10 11:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Being registered to vote in two different locations seems to be more a failure of the Board of Elections than fraud by the voter. I do however believe that someone who actually voted in two different places has committed a deliberate crime. Those two voter ballots should not count and the person should be charged with having committed a crime.
By METCOMedia (116), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 10 8:54 AM
Joe Hampton "This is a left leaning paper..."???? What paper are you are you thinking of? Surely not the Southampton Press? Unless y'all are affected by what ever it you are using for happy pills... In case you do not know the facts let me enlighten you... Since the Civil War (as far as I know) Suffolk County has been a strict Republican County and the Press has always been Republican leaning, although I am sure Hazel B. Brown would tell me that she printed only the facts so please get your facts ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Dec 1, 10 4:26 PM
Joe thinks that everything to the left of Genghis Khan is liberal.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 2, 10 6:13 PM
local media allegiance to the left? How do you explain The Independent? or The New York Post? Fox News? It's all a conspiracy by the left. What dreamworld do you live in Private America? [Your not Officer material]
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 2, 10 2:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
So we have gone from a vast right wing conspiracy to a vast left wing conspiracy. Poor Rush and Hannity
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 3, 10 9:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
who is that one source? Sarah Palin? isn't it funny that you are given a forum to spout your right wing drivel on a leftist driven media website? Poor righties don't invest in the media. I'm sure Rush and Hannity are struggling broadcasters or are they multi,multi millionaires. I guess their sponsers are just good-will lefties spreading their money around equally. I am not far left, I was a card carrying Republican for thirty four years but it is people like you, 27 dan, razza, joe hampton that ...more
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 4, 10 11:40 AM
The mets suck
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 4, 10 1:32 PM
That's all you got!!!!!! What happened razza 5351 suck the life out of you!!!!!!!!!!!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 4, 10 4:19 PM
LOL. Actually I'm not surprised you are a mets fan. The mets resemble your politics. They waste tons of money on people who talk a big game but never deliver
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 4, 10 5:42 PM
Sounds more like the Yankees !!!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 4, 10 9:38 PM
Yeah 27 championships....no results
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 5, 10 4:36 PM
I guess your a san francisco giant fan this year
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 6, 10 10:04 AM
What are you saying, everything's stacked against the right. In this town you can read The Press or The Independent. There isn't a farther right paper than The Independent. On television, there is Fox news 24 hours a day. Every Sunday I read The Post to see if I missing something. There are right radio shock jocks all over. I have to give credit to Sarah Palin, she is using the media for her message and getting paid for it as well. Very crafty. So I'm not sure what your beef is. Any responsible ...more
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 7, 10 10:47 AM
good riddance, Randy Outsourcer
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Dec 2, 10 3:35 PM
Randy is still waiting for the votes from India.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Dec 2, 10 4:20 PM
#ny01 update: Bishop +12 on 184 ballots counted today, +271 overall. Still 71 ballots both sides agreed to be counted tonight
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 2, 10 6:10 PM
then after the 71, how many more contested ballots to rule on?
By sirpoochala (78), Hampton Bays on Dec 2, 10 6:28 PM
For anyone interested in more information about 2nd homeowners and their voting rights, they can research this website: www.countryvote.org. This website describes the process and cites case law as to legality.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Dec 2, 10 6:52 PM
I believe it will be around 1270, give or take a few.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 2, 10 6:54 PM
. Bishop +277 at day's end.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 2, 10 10:33 PM
703 days till we take America back!
By They call me (2826), southampton on Dec 3, 10 12:26 AM
I thought you already claimed to have taken it back?
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Dec 3, 10 9:03 AM
No thanks, I'd rather take America forward.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 3, 10 11:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
You guys never say who you are taking it from!
By phins (43), East Hampton on Dec 3, 10 5:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Chris Christie is a reverse Robin Hood who stole money from N.J. schools to give a tax break to the rich.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Dec 3, 10 9:08 AM
2 members liked this comment
Yes David, Those would be the people that actually Earned the money. Your statement is ridiculous.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 4, 10 11:15 PM
2 members liked this comment
Joe might also say the notion of disparity is ridiculous...

Sorry I was late to the show.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 5, 10 9:24 PM
Remember that we are ALL Americans.
The country has not been taken.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Dec 3, 10 10:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
702 day till we take back America , Join the Tea party patriots as we count down the months, days, hours and seconds until we waive "BYE BYE" to the Community Organizer in Chief.
By They call me (2826), southampton on Dec 4, 10 5:52 PM
Can Tea Party people even count to 702? Backwards ?!? Not likely. In any case the rest of us are not holding our breaths, but it's okay if you want to... : ]
By rss0246 (23), East Hampton on Dec 4, 10 7:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
If they can count or not I am not sure... but they sure counted on election night
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 4, 10 11:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Are BofE workers paid by the hour?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 4, 10 11:12 PM
Pay plus benefits for the BofE workers is a well guarded secrect.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Dec 5, 10 9:12 PM
Oh goodness indeed, the leaks are a scandal of the first order and that they demonstrate the obama administration is "shallow" and "amateurish" when it comes to national security.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 5, 10 9:30 PM
What should they have used, Joe? Rendition, torture and phoney WMDs?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 6, 10 12:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
They've been going on for more than 4 years, so I assume you feel the same about the Bush Administration.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 6, 10 6:16 PM
I would prefer truth and transparency over back room deals and some corrupt quest just to obtain the progressive holy Grail of cap and trade.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 6, 10 1:34 PM
OK, Joe, I could have been a bit more serious in my last post, so I'll try now, with apologies. First, we need to separate the end from the means. We disagree about the cap-and-trade end of these efforts, and I respect that disagreement. But when you get to the means of achieving this or any other end in the diplomatic realm, pretty much all of history tells you that truth and transparency aren't part of the approach. Whether it's good-guys diplomacy or bad-guys diplomacy, I think that's always ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 6, 10 5:06 PM
Maybe I could agree with you more if truth and transparency were not the cornerstone of his champion rhetoric. and I am curious in this situation what is " the end " in your opinion.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Dec 6, 10 7:35 PM
I'm surmising that the end, Obama's goal, is just what you say it is, "the progressive Holy Grail of cap and trade." This is something on which you and I probably don't agree, but my remarks were directed to the means, not the end.

I'll admit that Obama's campaign rhetoric stressed truth and transparency, but I think realists figured that didn't include the manual for diplomats, which is rather a murky volume. On the other hand, it's a fair point on which to berate him, because he did ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 7, 10 11:01 AM
Our POS POTUS has proven time and again that he is working for the good of His regime, not the good of our Nation. Carry on.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 6, 10 4:53 PM
Suffolk BOE counted 80 ballots in #ny01 today. Bishop +3 on day. He's +274 according to Bishop spox, +267 says Altschuler spox.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 6, 10 6:13 PM
Precisely how many people were paid to count those 80 ballots? Even in these temperatures they must have been working up quite a sweat. No doubt we'll see disability claims coming in soon for PTSD.

It's good that all the politicos are so focused on saving money.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 6, 10 7:12 PM
The slow pace isn't because of the people counting, but it's due to the Altschuler campaign bringing every frivolous thing they can find to court.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 7, 10 4:03 PM
Q&A with Rep. Steve Israel: Stop giving New York's money to Mississippi http://bit.ly/eefLRA
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 6, 10 6:23 PM
Randy's actions, or lack of them, during the past 2 weeks has proven that the people were correct in not electing him to office. At least he got a trip to DC to see "what might have been." Back to Jersey or India for Randy.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Dec 7, 10 5:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
If #NY01 isn't certified by NYS before next congress, seat will be left vacant, says spokesman at US House Administration Committee.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 7, 10 4:08 PM
Wiki leaks attempts to expose Palin's thoughts, finds nothing http://www.borowitzreport.com/2010/12/05/wikileaks-attempts-to-expose-palins-thoughts-finds-nothing/
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 7, 10 4:00 PM
100 votes counted today in #ny01. Altschuler +4 on the day. Bishop now +270 or +263, depending on which campaign is counting.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 7, 10 5:23 PM
699 days
Until we take back America , Join the Tea party patriots as we count down the months, days, hours and seconds until we waive "BYE BYE" to the Community Organizer in Chief.

By They call me (2826), southampton on Dec 7, 10 9:06 PM
If a new president were to take office in Jan 2013, it would be in approximately 774 days, so just another thing you are wrong about, but thanks for playing.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 7, 10 9:25 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By pollbuster (132), Islip on Dec 7, 10 9:17 PM