Race for the 22nd Still Undecided 3 Months After Election Day
The race between Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney for the 22nd Congressional District seat remains up in the air, even though one candidate is crying foul.
With appeals pending and the certification stalled for at least a week, Tenney has a 122 vote lead in the race that saw more than 315,000 votes cast.
On Tuesday, Claudia Tenney's campaign claimed she has won the race by 123 votes and that Brindisi is "playing politics" by trying to stop the certification against a judicial order.
“Anthony Brindisi’s team of D.C. lawyers is trying to stop counties in New York’s 22nd District from certifying the results of this race, which Claudia Tenney won by 123 votes. Anthony Brindisi’s campaign refuses to accept the outcome of this election and its baseless, last-minute request to block certification of the results is depriving the 22nd District of representation in Congress,” said a Tenney spokesperson.
Brindisi and his campaign obviously disagree.
"The voters of New York's congressional district decide who represents them, not Claudia Tenney. With a margin between the two candidates of less than .04%, the courts must make sure the voters of New York’s 22nd congressional district receive a complete and fair counting of all lawful votes.," said Brindisi spokesperson Luke Jackson. "We are pleased that the Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of Oneida County’s certification in order to ensure the legal system has a full opportunity to review the many issues in this election. We look forward to continuing the legal process and remain confident that once this is resolved, Anthony Brindisi will be declared the winner and returned to Congress to continue his important work for the voters of NY-22," he said.
The Brindisi camp is challenging that the count is not certified because both campaigns have filed appeals and those appeals have not been decided on as of yet. They also charge that the count underway now is the initial count, not a re-count. Additionally, they claim Tenney is attempting to prevent legally cast ballots from being counted, citing these examples:
•A ballot of a legal voter who changed her last name (for example through marriage) but remained registered to vote.
•A ballot marked with a small stain on the back of it--Tenney argues that the ballot should be thrown out because her team claims the stain is identifying genetic material even though it is not clear what the material is.
•Absentee ballots where voters adhered to the NYSBOE guidance and dropped their ballot off at an Early Voting or Election Day polling location.
•Ballots that, according to sworn testimony from multiple election workers, were timely cast and received by the county but were stamped with an inaccurate timestamp.
•Ballots with stray markings - Tenney argued that a ballot is invalid because a voter underlined the word “two” in the instructions provided on the ballot
Jackson stressed that "in court, Tenney’s team argued for an incomplete and inaccurate vote total to be certified as the result because she was ahead. Meanwhile, when Brindisi led in the contest, Tenney’s camp claimed. “the law was not followed when ballots were challenged and tabulated in this election.” Shortly after she reclaimed a slim lead, the Tenney team argued for certification immediately," according to Jackson.
Justice Brian DelConte said in court this week that the delay in certification was warranted because the appeals process needs to be played out. He said he's making sure he's avoiding a mistake where one candidate is sworn-in to Congress, only to be removed because the other candidate actually won on appeal.
A Tenney spokesperson said in a release, the race is over and Tenney has won. “Boards of Elections in all eight counties completed their court-ordered canvass yesterday. Republican candidate Claudia Tenney prevailed in that process. It’s time for Anthony Brindisi’s Washington operatives to accept the results and stop playing politics with the integrity of our elections,” said the unnamed spokesperson.
“Court proceedings in the race began more than 90 days ago, and Claudia Tenney has led in the vote count every step of the way. The court’s review has been thorough, transparent, and fair to all parties. Ballots have been scrutinized and we are confident all legal votes have been counted,” the Tenney spokesperson said.
Additional motions will be filed by Thursday and another court appearance is expected on Friday.