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One-Vote Margin In Contentious Special Election

By Zach Campbell
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BROOKLYN — Forget Florida’s dimpled chads. Late last week, the Brooklyn Board of Elections reported David Storobin having a one-vote lead over Councilman Lew Fidler in the special election for the 27th District’s state Senate seat, and both sides are calling for a recount.

While Storobin, a lawyer and a Republican, is technically leading Fidler, a Democrat, by one vote, the election’s results will be reviewed tomorrow by a Brooklyn judge.

According to Valerie Vazquez, a spokesperson for the Board of Elections, both sides brought objections of fraud over more than 350 absentee and affidavit ballots. Election referees are going through all absentee ballots, which are still unopened, to address each campaign’s concerns of fraud. Election workers said many of the objections would be withdrawn after inspection.

Ballots that withstand objection will be opened and applied to the total count, and the still-contested ballots will go to a judge for review Wednesday.

The state Senate race has become unusually heated, especially given that the winner will only serve out the remainder of Carl Kruger’s term in a district that will not exist in a year due to new district lines.

Fidler’s campaign has accused a Storobin staff member of collecting 150 absentee votes for people who then voted a second time in person, while the Storobin campaign has accused Fidler of trying to disenfranchise Russian voters in southern Brooklyn. Storobin, who immigrated to the U.S. from Russia in the early ’90s, was expected to do well in that part of the district.

In order to receive an absentee ballot in New York state, an application must be filled out justifying why a voter is unable to make it to the polls in person. Monday, election workers went through each of the 350 absentee ballots to verify that each application was complete and that the signatures on the contested ballots matched those on the applications.

With regard to allegations of double voting, Vazquez explained that the point is moot.

“Machine votes supersede absentee ballots,” she explained, adding that double votes in this case are automatically counted only once.

On Wednesday, a judge will review the contested votes. If the final count doesn’t give either candidate a lead of more than 110 votes, or half of a percent of the total votes cast, state law mandates that election workers recount each of the 22,000 votes cast in the election, absentee or not.

April 3, 2012 - 10:50am


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