Padavan leads Gennaro in vote count

One of the most drawn out political contests in New York State history, between incumbent State Senator Frank Padavan and City Councilmember James Gennaro may finally come to an end in a Queens courtroom on Thursday, February 5.
With all but 256 disputed paper ballots out of 91,000 votes counted as of Tuesday, February 3, Padavan leads Gennaro by 578 votes.
After a protracted court battle, Queens Board of Elections (BOE) clerks, surrounded by attorneys for both candidates, re-examined a total of 2,566 paper ballots that had previously been ruled invalid.
According to sources with intimate knowledge of the process, 172 ballots were “resuscitated” and counted; a handful added to the disputed pile. “They [Republicans] basically let ballots with technical defects be counted, because they felt they’d win anyway,” the source said. “Otherwise, we’d never get through the process,” the source added.
Before the election can be certified by the BOE, the court order in effect since just after Election Day will have to be lifted by Judge Kevin Kerrigan.
“All unresolved issues regarding the hundreds of outstanding ballots in the 11th State Senate race should be resolved in court tomorrow,” said Gennaro campaign spokesperson Mike Barfield on Wednesday, February 4.
“Our prime focus is and has always been that all valid ballots be identified and counted. We will comment on the outcome of the election once the court has issued its ruling and all outstanding ballots have been tabulated,” Barfield said.
“There’s very little Gennaro’s side can do at this point, except ask for a re-canvass of the voting machines,” said a Republican attorney who is familiar with election law and procedures.
Padavan told The Courier, “At first I was ahead by 723 votes. They checked the machines and I was still ahead by 502 - the count of valid paper ballots brought it up to 580. After weeks of delay, they only picked up two votes.”
“All the paper ballots broke even. They only delayed the outcome. This is totally undermining the democratic process,” he said.
“At least I haven’t missed much,” Padavan conceded, noting that the only Senate vote since January was for the $1.6 billion deficit reduction act.
“It wasn’t presented to the media until hours before the vote. The committees did not receive copies,” he said.
Though Padavan has been working in the interim and his office expenses and staff salaries were covered through March, he noted, “I haven’t been paid in a month.”

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