Republican Russ Gallo is screaming “Shenanigans!” after the latest round of Board of Elections bungling handed the Independence Party ballot line over to Democrat Ben Akselrod, and turning the November election into a three-way race.
Akselrod lost his Democratic primary bid for Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz’s seat but, at first, appeared to pick up enough write-ins to win the Independence Party line. That honor was also sought by Gallo, who kicked off his own write-in campaign in the September 13 primary.
Initial counts showed Akselrod won by three votes out of just 39 Independence ballots cast. But Gallo said that at least 21 Independence Party members signed in to vote but were mistakenly given Democratic ballots, causing their votes to be invalidated. And many of those votes, Gallo said, would have gone to him.
Gallo took Akselrod and the Board of Elections to court over the matter, and, following an October 3 hearing, the court agrees: the Board of Elections botched the job. But the court also said it’s too late to do anything about it.
“The judge agreed that the Board of Elections screwed up, but refuses to make them fix the situation simply because they say they can’t,” Gallo said in an e-mailed statement. “We will never know who truly deserved to be the Independence candidate because we’ll never know who actually won the Election.”