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November 12, 2009
Shock! Recanvassing shows NY 23 race not over - sort of
In a shocker , recanvassing of the votes in NY-23 may establish that Hoffman, not Owens, won, according to this piece in the Syracuse Post Standard by Mark Weiner:
[A] recanvassing in the 11-county district shows that Owens' lead has narrowed to 3,026 votes over Hoffman, 66,698 to 63,672, according to the latest unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.
In Oswego County, where Hoffman was reported to lead by only 500 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted election night, inspectors found Hoffman actually won by 1,748 votes -- 12,748 to 11,000.
The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which about 10,200 were distributed, said John Conklin, communications director for the state Board of Elections.
Under a new law in New York that extended deadlines, military and overseas ballots received by this coming Monday (and postmarked by Nov. 2) will be counted. Standard absentee ballots had to be returned this past Monday.
Conklin said the state sent a letter to the House Clerk last week explaining that no winner had been determined in the 23rd District, and therefore the state had not certified the election. But the letter noted that Owens still led by about 3,000 votes, and that the special election was not contested -- two factors that legally allowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to swear in Owens on Friday.
Oswego County elections officials blame the mistakes on "chaos" in their call-in center that included a phone system foul-up and inspectors who read numbers incorrectly when phoning in results. Of 245 races in the county -- not including the congressional and court races -- 84 had incorrect totals reported election night.
In the congressional race, more votes were cast in Oswego County than any other in the 11-county district.
Ryan said the absentee ballots are likely to favor Hoffman because most were likely mailed before Republican Dede Scozzafava suspended her campaign three days before the election.
"For Doug to win, we needed a three-way race," Ryan said, adding that the campaign's internal polls showed Hoffman would win with all three candidates.
It will be interesting to see what happens when all the votes are counted and it turns out the billl passed only with the vote of a man who was never certified the winner by the NY Secretary of State as the law requires.
Rick Moran adds:
Hoffman would need about 60% of those 10,000 absentee ballots to win. This is very possible in a two way race but much less likely when three candidates are involved. Scozzafava was polling at around 20% when she turned traitor and quit so while hope springs eternal for Chicago Cubs fans, in this case, the likelihood that Doug Hoffman can overcome a 3,000 vote deficit is very small.