This is one of the biggest voting snafusI can recall. It's like the city of New York never ran an election before. The confusion surrounding the primary results from last Tuesday's race in Rep. Charlie Rangel's 15th District appears headed for the courts.
Rangel initially appeared to be the winner by a comfortable margin. But votes kept trickling in and his lead has now shrunk to just 802 votes with 2,000 absentee votes still to be counted and a recount all but certain.
Espaillat, however, is in vigilant pursuit of an accurate count - and his campaign is filing a complaint on Tuesday in the state Supreme Court as part of that effort.
"We cannot have a Florida-type situation in New York state," Espaillat said Monday in a news conference. "We may not be looking at people looking at the pregnant dimples, but certainly the Board of Elections has not conclusively given us a result for this election. In fact, they have engaged in a murky process with a lack of transparency."
Ibrahim Kahn, a campaign spokesperson for Espaillat, said he had "very, very strong concerns about the way this election was conducted on election night."
"There have been all sorts of issues with the Board of Elections," Kahn said, arguing that the board had released vote counts while the votes for 70 congressional districts remained uncounted. "There's more votes outstanding than separate the top candidates, so it's a real concern."
The Espaillat campaign has also pointed to what they say are incidences of voter suppression across the city, including cases wherein bilingual poll workers were pulled out of Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. "Part of going to court is being able to investigate more."
Vazquez, the board of elections spokesperson, defended the electoral process and argued that the state was merely following procedure with regard to the initial vote count.
That procedure is unconventional to say the least:
According to New York electoral procedure, the official vote count does not begin until the day following an election. The New York Police Department is responsible for releasing initial, unofficial vote counts to the press based on information provided by poll workers. In last Tuesday night's unofficial count, according to the board of elections, the NYPD listed zero tallies in some districts where that information had been provided.
Stay tuned. Rangel may finally have run out of luck.