Ballot envelopes won't be opened today in 46th district race

By HEATHER NELLIS

Recorder News Staff

FONDA -- In response to a notice of appeal filed at the Montgomery County Clerk's Office Monday, the Appellate Division's Third Department issued a temporary order that stopped 46th state Senate District ballot envelopes from being opened and counted today.

The notice of appeal was filed by George Amedore Jr.'s attorney, David Lewis. Lewis has maintained throughout the proceedings he wants the ballot envelopes to remain sealed for appellate review, and the ballots would have otherwise been "burst" and counted today under acting Montgomery County Supreme Court Judge Guy P. Tomlinson's orders.

Amedore, a Republican, has an 111 vote lead over Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, but nearly all the 887 objected items across the five-county district have been reviewed under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, where Tomlinson's rule would have ordered about 350 of them be opened and counted.

On Monday, more than half of Ulster County's 521 ballots were negotiated by attorneys, the rest tried by court-appointed referees at that election board in Kingston.

Tomlinson validated some 150 ballots last week, with more withdrawn.

Roughly 30 ballots will be reviewed in Kingston today to finish the Ulster County review, which reportedly ended Monday night with 47 objections overruled by the referees, and 77 objections withdrawn (74 of them by Republicans, the Democrats reported).

Based on Tomlinson's prior rulings, the candidates' attorneys agreed 61 objections are likely to be overruled.

That would have resulted in 185 ballots being opened in Ulster County today under Tomlinson's now-halted order, which said the court-attorney referees were to immediately oversee the opening of any validated items once all were reviewed.

The judge had also scheduled the approximate 80 ballots from Schenectady, Albany and Montgomery counties he validated last week to be opened today. Another 80 envelopes from Greene County validated on Friday were scheduled to be opened in Fonda Wednesday.

But it will now be an undetermined period of time before ballots are opened.

Third District Chief Motions Attorney Edward Carey said Justice William McCarthy signed an order to show cause Monday, which brings on a motion in the Appellate Division for a stay of Tomlinson's orders until the appeal is decided.

"The motion won't be decided until at least [Thursday]," Carey said, who added it could even be another week or two after that.

Commenting on the appeal notice, Amedore Spokesman Kris Thompson said, "We will continue to safeguard the absentee ballots and affidavits as it relates to the state election law. This is a legal process that ensures that all appropriate ballots are counted in accordance with state law."

Tkaczyk spokesman Gary Ginsburg said, "The campaign has been saying throughout this process that we want to move this along, and ensure that these ballots are counted in a responsible and timely manner."