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New Tensions Surface Over Ballot Validity in Queens DA Race as Katz Attorney Objects to Cabán Vote

Borough President Melinda Katz. (Melinda Katz)

July 16, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan

As the manual recount in the Queens District Attorney Democratic Primary got underway yesterday, the first ballot objection quickly surfaced, causing yet another rift in the already contentious race.

As Board of Elections staffers began the process of tallying by hand more than 93,000 individual ballots, attorney for Melinda Katz, Frank Bolz, raised an objection to one of the ballots being counted, according to published reports.

The ballot—a vote for Tiffany Cabán—had a distinguishing pen mark on the top of the paper. New York State election law forbids any ballot from being counted that is “marked or signed by the voter in such a way that it can be identified from other ballots,” including “unusual markings not related to indication of the vote choice.” 

Following the objection from the Katz team, the vote was reportedly voided by BOE staff and placed in a folder for objected ballots, which will be officially ruled on at a later date.

The Katz campaign could not be reached for comment. 

Cabán attorney Jeffrey Goldfeder addressed the BOE’s objection process during a press conference on Monday morning, stating that he believes the board will render fair decisions throughout the recount process.

The recount operation, which kicked off on July 9 with a multi-day ballot sorting process, was automatically triggered by Katz’s narrow 16-vote lead over Cabán after affidavit and absentee ballots were counted on July 3. Until that point, Cabán had held a 1,199 vote lead over Katz.

Ballot validity has been an ongoing issue in the DA race, with Cabán, Katz and the BOE currently entangled in a lawsuit concerning the validity of 114 affidavit ballots. 

The 114 ballots in question, which have not yet been counted, each contain errors in the information filled out by the voter and were consequently voided by the BOE. The majority of these ballots—roughly 70—were discounted because the voter did not clearly state their party affiliation.

A final ruling on whether these ballots are valid will be issued by a judge after the end of the manual recount—which is expected no sooner than July 31—but only if the results are still close enough for the 114 uncounted ballots to have an impact.

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7 Comments

Ms Woodyside

So when we going to find out who really won.
Hope its Katz . Caban is another AOC – we dont need another latina .

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Stay Loose

If only there were an easier way to vote. If only the ballots were simple enough for a voter to complete without voiding their vote. This should be a simple, idiot-proof process. If we can order an ocean cruise on our phone, how hard could it be to enact a voting system that anyone can figure out?

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Anon

The ballot is simple enough. If you can’t figure it out you probably shouldn’t vote. You’re obviously to dumb to understand the issues at hand.

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11101

Wow. Katz’ desperation isn’t pretty. Trying to get a single vote tossed, because the pen likely wasn’t working.

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Gardens Watcher

Lawyers on both sides are doing their thing: following stringent NYS election laws. Judge Ingram will likely rule on any contested ballots.

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Gardens Watcher

On a lighter note, From QNS story today:
“One source told QNS that a ballot had been voided because the voter had written a paragraph off to the side of the ballot criticizing Cabán as a socialist, which both groups not only agreed was the proper step but served as one of the lighter moments in an otherwise contentious race.”

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