Randy Altschuler called in to a conference call with the American Conservative Union this afternoon to give us a status of the NY1 race. As you’re probably aware, the race was called for the incumbent, Democrat Rep. Tim Bishop, whose lead was reported to be about 3,000 votes. The problem is that New York is using new voting machines this year – paper ballots are scanned into machines and the machines are supposed to give an accurate count. Apparently, the problems were human error, for the most part. The election workers aren’t used to the new machines, and the counts were coming in slowly all night. When all was said and done, it turned out Altschuler was ahead by 393 votes.
The machines and paper ballots were impounded at the Board of Elections per a legal order. The Suffolk County Board of Elections is auditing 3% of the machines, which is standard operating procedure. If there are any irregularities they will then audit 5% of the machines, however, according to Altschuler the audit hasn’t shown any deviations or problems. To date he remains in the lead.
Tim Bishop is trying to circumvent the process and has gone to court requesting a hand recount. Bishop will have to show that there was some problem with the scanning machines and as far as Altschuler knows, there have been no instances of problems. A hearing will be held either tomorrow (Friday) or Monday, November 14.
As things stand, absentee ballots will decide the election in NY1. Altschuler told us there are 10,000 absentee ballots. Of those, there are 400 more Republican ballots than there are Democrat. He also has a slight edge with the Conservative line over the other typically Democrat-leaning lines. In addition, there are approximately 1,000 affidavits which are ballots cast by those who were not on the rolls on election day. He also has a very slight edge in the category.
This is an expensive process, and Altschuler’s campaign has to pay lawyers and observers until all votes have been counted. Da TechGuy summed it up what’s at stake:
The other side is as you can guess is suing to force a full hand recount of all ballots. As you might realize one of the strategies for stealing an election is to keep recounting until you can disqualify enough ballots of your opponent or allow enough ballots of your own to be counted till you get a lead and then stop at once.
If you’d like to help Altschuler you can contribute at his website. Or you can send a check via snail mail to: Randy Altschuler for Congress Recount Fund, PO Box 657, Stony Brook, NY 11790.