Archive for the tag 'larry martin'

After last week’s decision by a New York Supreme Court judge that the allegedly fraudulent ballots in the 27th State Senate District race were, in fact, legitimate, the Board of Elections has completed their canvas – Republican David Storobin is in the lead by 27 votes.

The current count, according to a statement released by Councilman Lew Fidler’s campaign, Storobin’s Democratic opponent, is as follows:

  • Storobin: 11,082
  • Fidler: 11,055

That leaves a 0.12 percent difference between the two candidates, triggering a provision in BOE procedures that states that any race in which the margin between the two candidates is less than one-half percent of the total votes cast (in this race, 110 votes), a full hand recount of each and every vote cast must be done.

Regardless of who wins the seat, their influence has already been stunted in Albany. The legislative session ends in June, and, due to redistricting, the seat is slated to be eliminated come January. It’s possible that the winner will never cast a single vote.

However, at the very least, the race is a learning opportunity for the Board of Elections. The new electronic scanner machines implemented citywide in 2010 have never been saddled with a full hand recount. The BOE told Sheepshead Bites they’re not even sure how long the process will take.

“We have to open everything; every paper ballot [including paper returns from the electronic scanners]. It’s over 22,000 ballots,” said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez. “We just have to make sure that there’s confidence in the election and that every vote that was cast was in fact counted.”

The Supreme Court judge overseeing the ballot disputes in the State Senate District 27 campaign threw out Councilman Lew Fidler’s allegations that a member of David Storobin’s campaign committed voter fraud, ordering the Board of Elections to count 119 disputed ballots likely to fall in favor of the GOP.

The Fidler campaign contended Storobin’s team committed voter fraud when a paid Storobin consultant intentionally gathered 119 absentee ballots for Russian voters who were capable of reaching the polls. In New York, voters can only cast absentee ballots if they are physically unable to get to the polls. However, at least 16 of those “permanently disabled” voters cast a vote in person on election day. After failing to appear in court on April 26, the consultant – Alla Pometko – was subpoenaed by the judge last week, when she declared her innocence.

The judge determined that Fidler’s evidence came up short, and that Pometko’s testimony appeared credible.

The court finds that petitioner has failed to meet his burden of establishing, by clear and convincing evidence, that Ms. Pometko or Storobin are chargeable with knowledge of any fraud with respect to the procurement of absentee ballots,” Judge Larry Martin wrote. “In fact, the evidence adduced at trial falls far short of the allegations contained in the petition and bill of particulars.”

Following the decision, the campaigns issued the following statements (published in order that they were issued):

Campaign spokesman David Simpson said, “We were right all along. Everything the Storobin campaign did to encourage voter participation in this election, especially our outreach efforts into the Russian community, was done in accordance with the law and 100% above board. Today the court affirmed that. The Fidler campaign has wasted time and taxpayer money trying to steal this election and disenfranchise Russian voters. But all they succeeded in doing was to delay the outcome of the election for another month. Once these ballots are counted, we are confident that David Storobin will regain his lead and will be declared the winner.”

From Lew Fidler:

We respect, but respectfully disagree with, the Court’s decision. Over 100 otherwise healthy people spontaneously declared themselves to be disabled in the presence of no one other than David Storobin’s staffer. This is a proven fact. The Storobin campaign knows exactly what it did here and purposefully set out to do it.

This election – and this count – are far from over. While we await the actual opening of these ballots, a hand recount of more than 22,000 ballots will undoubtedly follow. At the very least, as this will be a first manual recount since the use of the new scanners, we will find out if the new machines are in fact giving us all an accurate count. When all the ballots are double-checked for accuracy, we will know who will be entitled to take the oath of office.

In the interim, I will continue to work as hard as ever representing the people of my district in the City Council.

Stay tuned.

See the judge’s written decision after the jump.