Queens DA recount concludes with convincing lead for Melinda Katz, battle to continue in court

final da recount
Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS

As the recount for Queens District Attorney draws to a close, it seems as though Borough President Melinda Katz has pulled through with a compelling victory despite falling short by almost 1,100 votes in the June 25 primary.

As of Thursday, a Board of Elections tally put Katz ahead of Democratic Socialist and public defender Tiffany Cabán by around 60 votes, according to a multiple sources, up-ending Cabán’s victory celebration on primary night.

These results have not been officiated by the BOE as of Thursday.

The outlook was bleak for attorneys representing Cabán, first with the final ballot out of all 91,000 going to Katz then with Jerry Goldfeder making a grim prediction for the weeks to come.

When asked what the Cabán can expect from the numbers tallied on Thursday, he simply responded by saying, “We’ll be in court.”

When asked for elaboration, he not only explained that there are 114 affidavits that have been disputed for the last couple weeks. But a number of ballots were objected to on what he believes to be erroneous grounds.

“It has been far, far too long since our communities have been able to be in a position of power, to be heard,” Caban said. “It doesn’t get more basic than Democratic voters having their voices heard.”

Goldfeder did not give a precise number of votes were to be taken to court but said he would inform reporters when they give the number to the courts. The number of ballots they dispute will be greater than the current margin of 60, he said.

According to Goldfeder, “hyper-technical” judgements were made against affidavits where the voter did not write “Democrat” on the envelope among other mistakes that cause the BOE to void a ballot.

The Aug. 6 court date will dispute the validity of the affidavits and objected ballots and the proceedings will be overseen by a judge from Brooklyn.

“We respect the recount process and the crucial role it has played in upholding our democracy and ensuring that every voice has been heard,”Katz campaign adviser Andrew Kirtzman said. “Lawyers from both campaigns have worked closely with Board officials to maintain fairness and consistency with the law during this race. Now that every valid vote has been counted and recounted, the results confirm once again that the people of Queens have chosen Melinda Katz as the Democratic nominee for District Attorney. We wish to thank all of those who continued to believe in her message, and to the many who never gave up faith.”

The Cabán campaign has planned since before the absentee count in the first week of July to take the contested ballots to court. But with the count of 3,550 absentee votes, Katz was also able close the 1,100 vote gap and lead Cabán by 16 votes.
The margin of less than a percentage point triggered an automatic recount.
According to Goldfeder, a victor is declared in a recount regardless of a slim margin.
As noon came and passed, the BOE tallied the 40th Assembly District which showed out 2,608 votes, Katz had 1,142 to Cabán’s 781. The 40th AD is centered in Flushing and represented by Ron Kim.
The Democratic field for District Attorney was crowded with retired judge Gregory Lasak, Mina Malik, Jose Nieves and Betty Lugo. Councilman Rory Lancman also competed but dropped out to support Katz just days before the primary.

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