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Outcome of Senate race to be finalized

Thursday, January 17, 2013 - Updated: 5:49 PM

By HEATHER NELLIS

Recorder News Staff

Ninety-nine ballots that will determine the winner of the 46th Senate District election will be counted this week, most of them on Friday morning, officials said.

The state Court of Appeals decided in a 4-1 vote Wednesday to dismiss both candidates' requests for appeal, so the Appellate Division's rule last week stands in its order to count those 99 ballots.

Ninety were cast by Ulster County voters. Staff at that county Board of Elections said they will be counted Friday.

It is currently undetermined when the eight Greene County and single Albany County ballots of that mix will be counted. Staff at both election boards said commissioners were attending an election board conference, and a schedule hadn't been determined yet.

Additionally, an unopened absentee ballot surfaced at the Montgomery County Board of Elections, but it is currently unknown what will happen to it. It could become a pivotal piece in the final results, as Republican George Amedore Jr., the certified winner, leads by just 37 votes.

Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, however, favored in Ulster County on election night, scooping up nearly 60 percent of the vote, according to uncertified results.

The special ballots of 53 Ulster County election inspectors are some of the 90 that will be counted Friday. The Appellate Division ordered them opened, stating acting Montgomery County Supreme Court Justice Guy P. Tomlinson's erred by invalidating them during a three-week supervised count.

In some cases, those workers submitted their ballots more than a month early under the advice of Commissioners Tom Turco and Vic Work.

Though the appellate judges agreed the commissioners issued the ballots earlier than the law allows, they say the law doesn't stipulate the earliest time the ballots can be cast.

Those ballots were the source of Judge Victoria Graffeo's dissenting vote, according to the three-page decision from the Court of Appeals Wednesday afternoon.

"This case presents a significant issue of statutory interpretation that should be resolved by our court," wrote Graffeo, a Republican. "Under the current Election Law, we do not have early voting in New York ... Here, because the lower courts reached contrary conclusions regarding the proper interpretation of election law, I believe further appellate review is warranted."

In a statement, Amedore Spokesman Kris Thompson said the campaign accepts the court's decision not to hear either side.

"We look forward to the final counting and we remain confident," he wrote. "It has been a lengthy process that should be concluded shortly."

Tkaczyk Spokesman Gary Ginsburg said, "We look forward to resolving the electoral process and counting the ballots ruled valid by the courts to ensure these New Yorkers have their voices heard."

In the finality of the court's ballot validation, 345 will remain unopened and uncounted.

     

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