Court halts Senate ballot recount as it weighs appeal


Recorder News Staff

The state's highest court on Thursday put the kibosh on counting additional ballots for the 46th state Senate District election.

State Court of Appeals Spokesman Gary Spencer said it's temporary, while the court determines whether it will hear George Amedore Jr.'s appeal on the Appellate Division's order to open an additional 99 ballots.

Spencer said lawyers for Cecilia Tkaczyk, Amedore's opponent, have until Monday to submit papers in opposition. Spencer expects the judges will decide whether to hear Amedore's appeal soon after that because it's on an expedited track.

"It must be, at this point in time," Spencer said.

Tkaczyk appealed the Supreme Court's certification of the results in late December, in which Amedore led by a 37-vote margin, the final tally at 63,141 to 63,104.

Amedore filed his oath of office Jan. 3, but when the Legislature convened for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address Wednesday, the Appellate Division also validated 99 ballots that have the potential to swing the results.

Ninety of those ballots were cast by voters in Ulster County, where Tkaczyk favored on election night. It's unclear whether the Court of Appeals will rule on the remaining 345 unopened ballots, also mostly of Ulster County, in which the Appellate Division said were appropriately tossed out.

Amedore released a statement in response to what his spokesman described as Amedore's absence from the Capitol Wednesday.

It read, "This was a significant day for the governor and the Legislature as we set forth to work on behalf of all New Yorkers in these extremely challenging times. I have tremendous respect for the judicial process and despite being certified the winner in this race, I believe that the only appropriate action is to allow the pending legal matter to conclude."

"This is about governing, not politicizing and I believe some may have attempted to use this day to detract from the critical issues important to all of us," his statement continued. "However, I look forward to joining my colleagues in the very near future as I plan to proudly represent the great people of the 46th Senate District."

In regard to the appeal, Amedore Spokesman Kris Thompson on Thursday said the campaign is "withholding comment pending the conclusion of this matter."

Tkaczyk Spokesman Gary Ginsburg e-mailed a previously released quote when asked to comment on the stay and Amedore's request to appeal: "We respect the judicial process and look forward to a speedy resolution to ensure that the residents of the 46th Senate District have their voices heard in the State Senate."