More on the post-election ballot question in NY 23
It appears, though it was not widely reported, that in an effort to prevent Hoffman from being seated should he win, Owens preemptively contested the results, and the ballots were impounded so the New York Board of elections could not - and did not - certify the NY 23 election results. This the House knew when Pelosi ordered Owens sworn in to vote for the atrocious health care reform bill.
Nathan Barker writing in the Gouverneur Times:
The Clerk of the House of Representatives requested results of the election from the NYS Board of Elections. The NY Board of Elections could not release those results while the vote was impounded but after Mr. Hoffman's concession of the election, based on erroneous information Hoffman had received with regard to the vote count, the Owens' Campaign released their impound order. This put the Board of Elections in a position where they could report the vote count to the Clerk of the House, although they emphasized that the results were unofficial and that they could not certify the result.
Without a clear winner in the election and with considerably more outstanding absentee ballots than the spread between the candidates, the NY Board could not and did not certify the result of the election. The House, however, moved forward with the induction of its newest member regardless. They did so, presumably on the order of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who had declared on the previous day that "Tuesday night, we won two more votes for health care." with apparent disregard for the fact that the election is not over yet.
The New York State Board of Elections was unable to prevent this action, indicating that the House of Representatives is the sole arbiter of who may join their ranks. The question remains though, did the House act too soon?
The ballot count won't be over until sometime in December with enough outstanding absentee ballots that it is mathematically possible that Hoffman could win.
I think the law is far murkier than this article suggests. I think the House can (based on my reading of the Supreme Court case involving Adam Clayton Powell), set its own standards for who qualifies to sit in the Congress, but it is up to each state to determine how the winners shall be certified. So, for example, the House could bar a convicted felon from sitting but cannot decide whether candidate x or y was the victor and entitled to be seated if neither is barred by that rule.