Katz attorneys argue that Cabán campaign has no case, court should be dismissed

Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS

Attorneys from the Queens County Democratic Party and the Board of Elections argued in front of a judge on Wednesday that the campaign for Tiffany Cabán has no argument in the case to dispute over 68 affidavits and other objected ballots.

After hearing the arguments from Cabán attorney Jerry Goldfeder, Katz attorney Gerard Sweeney and a Law Department counsel representing the BOE, Judge John Ingram pointed out that the main question at this time is whether the objections were made within the proper statute of limitations.

“The initial issue is whether or not the objections are timely,” Ingram said.

Ingram ultimately ruled that court would adjourn until Tuesday at 10:30 when the judge would review 28 affidavit ballots at the Board of Elections building in Forest Hills.

Sweeney railed against the overall vagueness of Cabán’s objections, stating that they have made attacks against Katz and the Democratic Party in the press and reference inconsistent numbers of ballots they are fighting to have vindicated.

“This is a circus, that’s going on here,” Sweeney said. “Everything they are trying to do is just to distract everyone. They lost the election fair and square … Instead of thanking [the BOE] for their hard work, they raised a phony set of objections.”

Goldfeder argued that he had dozens of witnesses who said the BOE poll workers did not follow guidelines in the handbook but instructing affidavit voters on the proper way to fill in the information on the envelope.

There are 17 voided ballots, some of which Goldfeder says were erroneously deemed so, that the attorney for the BOE, Assistant Corporation Counsel Stephen Kitzinger, said should have been objected to during the recount as well as the absentee ballot count. Goldfeder argued that they had an ongoing objection already lodged.

“You have to lodge an objection during the administrative process, on the record,” Kitzinger said. “The law is clear. You don’t object, you don’t get into court.”

Goldfeder turned his argument against poll workers who he claims did little to make sure affidavit ballots were filled out properly, indicating that is the reason why 28 ballots are missing party affiliation.

“Mr. Sweeney forgot to mention that poll workers have a procedure … It is your responsibility to make sure the voter has completed all entries on the envelope. The poll worker has an administerial duty, according to the board, to say, ‘There’s something missing here. You have to fill it in,'” Goldfeder said partially quoting from the manual. “Voters should not be disenfranchised because of administerial errors.”

Ingram seemed to lose patience with Goldfeder as he asked for a specific date that he lodged the ongoing objection. Goldfeder repeated that he could not remember when Renee Paradis, another Cabán attorney, said they raised the continuing objection on July 3, during the absentee and affidavit ballot count.

“We were only told they were ruled invalid; we weren’t given a reason for why they were ruled invalid,” Paradis said. “It was the only way we could effectively review [the ballots].”

Katz currently holds a 60 vote lead over Cabán after the numbers from the full recount were certified by the BOE on Monday.

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