Martin Babinec briefs Congressman Anthony Brindisi on the status of construction on Rock City Centre, the new building going up on Main St across from City Hall during a recent visit.

by Dave Warner

As of last week, it was thought that Claudia Tenney held anywhere from a 100-300 vote lead over incumbent Anthony Brindisi in the NY-22 race. Lawyers for both campaigns have been fighting behind the scenes over hundreds of absentee and mail-in ballots that could tip the election.

The two faced off again this year after Brindisi won by about 4,400 votes in 2018. On election day, November 3rd, Tenney had built up more than a 28,000 vote lead, but Brindisi has steadily cut into that total since then.

Josh Rosenblatt, with WBNG 12 News, stated on Twitter, “According to the vote counts I obtained, I can confirm @RepBrindisi now has 155435 votes, @claudiatenney has 155422 votes. Almost unbelievably, Brindisi now leads Tenney by just 13 votes in #NY22.”

A statement from the Brindisi campaign said, “Election results from the remaining counties in the district show Anthony Brindisi has now taken the lead. We are hopeful that once New York’s 22nd congressional district is certified, Representative Brindisi will be sworn in again to continue his bipartisan work on behalf of this district. As we’ve said from the start, once the election process is completed Anthony will be re-elected. Democracy might force us to wait sometimes, but voters’ faith in this process and our Republic should remain steadfast.”

Tenney campaign spokesman Sean Kennedy said, “Governor Cuomo’s unfair, unwise, and unilateral rules changes and administrative burdens overwhelmed our voting system and created this utter dysfunction. As a result, the law was not followed when ballots were challenged and tabulated in this election. The result remains far from resolved. Hundreds of ineligible ballots were illegally or improperly cast including votes by the dead, non-residents, or unregistered voters. Those ballots should not – and must not – be counted. The hearing in court has already established that the current tally includes invalid votes and that the process to review and count the massive amount of paper ballots is fractured.”

“Today’s misleading and inaccurate tally is rife with errors and mistakes that must be rectified before this election is certified. It is far from final. Our team will fight to ensure the rights of every voter who cast a legal and proper ballot are preserved and not diluted. We cannot sacrifice accuracy for speed. When that is done, we feel strongly that Claudia Tenney will be certified the winner of the race for the 22nd District of New York,” he stated.

The court has issued an injunction preventing counties from certifying the results of the NY-22 election until further notice and both sides are briefing the court about the next steps for resolving uncounted ballots. More than 300,000 people voted in the election by either absentee, mail-in, or via voting machines.

A voting rights advocate has blamed the confusion on a lack of a centralized real-time election reporting system in New York, that results in a chaotic system in which voter’s ballots could be thrown out without them knowing it.

Jarret Berg, an election lawyer and co-found of Vote Early NY stated, “Unfortunately, in New York, there is a stunning lack of transparency around just basic information when it comes to our elections.”

New York lawmakers passed a bill this year that requires a full manual recount of ballots in elections where the margin of victory is 0.5% or less, but it does not go into effect until January 1, 2021.

The 22nd Congressional District covers all of Chenango, Cortland, Madison, and Oneida counties, and parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, and Tioga counties.