cue the sad trombone
State Senator Adriano Espaillat conceded his race against Congressman Charlie Rangel for a second time yesterday, and it seems he’s not planning to issue the apology to the Board of Elections that Commissioner J.C. Polanco called for anytime soon. Mr. Polanco felt his criticism against the board was unwarranted, but Mr. Espaillat made it pretty clear on Inside City Hall last night that he won’t be backing down.
“No apology,” he stated. “The day after the election we got an unofficial report that showed over 70 EDs … at zero. I could see three or four, that’s within the margin of error. But over 70 electoral districts showing up at zero? Totally unacceptable for New Yorkers!”
At Congressman Charlie Rangel’s election night party outside Sylvia’s Restaurant on Malcolm X Boulevard June 26, former New York Governor David Paterson served as emcee entertaining the crowd with political patter and jokes as the results rolled in. Standing on stage with Mr. Rangel’s other longtime Harlem allies, Assemblyman Keith Wright, co-chair of the New York Democratic Party, and Assemblyman Carl Heastie, leader of the Bronx Democratic Party, Mr. Paterson declared Mr. Rangel victorious in his race against State Senator Adriano Espaillat.
“The firm of Heastie, Paterson & Wright have projected Charles Rangel the winner in the 13th Congressional District primary,” Mr. Paterson proclaimed to loud cheers and applause.
Mr. Paterson’s remarks were seemingly made in jest, however ten days after the election, there are some who fear Mr. Rangel’s cronies did hand him a victory after the initial Board of Elections result was found to have left votes uncounted in over thirty precincts and Mr. Espaillat’s campaign has gone to court with allegations of voter suppression and other “irregularities.” In this morning’s Daily News, Juan Gonzalez published a column detailing “troubling signs” that some Board of Elections officials engaged “in an all-out effort by the Democratic Party establishment to ensure a Rangel victory.”
In a conversation with The Politicker, Mr. Wright vehemently denied the various charges in Mr. Gonzalez’s story.
“It’s not true,” Mr. Wright said. “It’s absolutely untrue.”
fun at the board
Earlier today, New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez published a fairly damning report on the Board of Elections and their interaction with Congressman Charlie Rangel’s reelection campaign, notably that Timothy Gay, the deputy chief clerk for Manhattan’s Board of Elections — AKA “the person currently supervising the count of the votes in the Manhattan part of the 13th Congressional District” — held a meeting in Harlem with “key Rangel campaign operatives, and with district leaders supporting Rangel” right before Election Day. Additionally, Mr. Gonzalez reported, “[U]ntil now, no one has mentioned more than 2,000 additional paper votes the board’s staff tossed out this week as invalid.”
And Mr. Rangel’s opponent, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who is currently down by about 900 votes with absentee ballots from his electoral base yet to be counted, isn’t thrilled at the news. His campaign spokesman emailed the story to the media, referring to it as “new findings of impropriety at the Board of Elections,” and politicos supporting Mr. Espaillat have been repeatedly tweeting their frustration.
New York City Board of Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco isn’t happy that State Senator Adriano Espaillat and newspaper editorials are bashing the agency’s ballot-counting operation after last Tuesday’s vote. On Inside City Hall last night, Mr. Palanco simply unloaded on all of them, calling allegations that they may have tilted the process towards Mr. Espaillat’s rival, Rep. Charlie Rangel, “vicious,” “malicious,” “false,” “terrible” and more.
“When we allow for the editorials in New York City to tell our story, when we allow for columnists and other individuals and elected officials who honestly are doing a disservice to their community by not understanding election law, … [to be] going out there and blasting the hardworking men and women at the Board of Elections, we think it’s appalling,” he argued.
Law & Order
This morning, New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx held a hearing in the matter of Adriano Espaillat vs. The Board of Elections in The City of New York addressing issues with the counting of ballots and alleged voter suppression in the increasingly close congressional race between veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Lawyers for both candidates and the Board of Elections appeared before Judge John Carter who, in a small victory for the Espaillat campaign, ruled all ballots cast in the June 26 election must be preserved and barred the BOE from transmitting results to the New York State Board of Elections once they are certified so that the Court may review any disputed paper ballots, alleged instances of voter supression and issues with the results from the electronic voting machines. Those issues will be examined in another hearing scheduled for July 11. Judge Carter’s ruling also left open the possibility that a “new primary election” will be held “upon a finding that there has been such fraud and irregularity as to render impossible a determination” of who won last week’s election.
how not to count votes
The Board of Elections will soon begin counting paper absentee and affidavit ballots this morning, taking another step in resolving the race between Congressman Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat. At the same time, Mr. Espaillat’s lawsuit to open up the process and have a judge evaluate Election Day “irregularities” will proceed at the New York State Supreme Court. And despite all the tension and drama, New Yorkers have seen this show before.
For example, one of the Espaillat campaign’s chief complaints is that 79 precincts were reported with zero votes cast in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary, which the Board of Elections blamed on police officers and local inspectors rather than a flawed system. Mayor Michael Bloomberg subsequently blasted the board as “the most easily corruptible” in the world, with editorial boards weighing in with their own criticism as well.
And if one were to replace then-Senator Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s names with Mr. Espaillat and Mr. Rangel, this story from the 2008 election would basically be identical to the current excitement:
Welcome to the Florida of Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who had originally conceded the race against Congressman Charlie Rangel last Tuesday, clearly isn’t ready to go there just yet. At a packed press conference held in front of a senior center on 187th Street, Mr. Espaillat slammed the Board of Elections, lobbed allegations of voter suppression, and explained his plans going forward.
“Mayor Bloomberg said a couple days ago that this electoral process is easily corruptible, that, in fact, the Board of Elections is a board that the average New Yorker cannot trust,” Mr. Espaillat declared. “I agree with him.”
The Neverending Story
Six days after election day and a premature declaration of victory for Rep. Charlie Rangel, there is still no official winner in the Upper Manhattan congressional race between Mr. Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat. This afternoon, lawyers for both candidates are headed to New York State Supreme Court to address issues with the Board of Elections’ tabulation of the results in their congressional race and alleged instances of “irregular and possibly fraudulent returns from voting machines.” Mr. Rangel prepared for the legal battle by sending an email to his supporters saying he’s “completely baffled” by the situation and asking for donations to help him in the court fight.
“To my surprise, my opponent’s campaign pounced on me on Friday, saying that I had somehow stolen their votes! I’m completely baffled by the situation and the way my opponent has been reacting,” Mr. Rangel wrote. “I don’t know what will transpire in the coming days, but one thing is clear: I need your help to prepare myself for another battle — whether it’s a legal battle with the Board of Elections or with my opponent.”
The race between veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat for the 13th Congressional District in Upper Manhattan will come down to paper ballots. Mr. Rangel was initially declared the winner by the Associated Press based on initial results provided by the New York City Board of Elections, but it was subsequently revealed those results did not include votes from many of the precincts in the district. After a re-examination of the votes, the BOE released unofficial results tonight including votes cast in all of the district’s 506 precincts that show Mr. Rangel defeating Mr. Espaillat by a margin of just 802 votes. According to the BOE, Mr. Rangel received 18,075 votes, or 44.29 percent of the total cast, compared to Mr. Espaillat’s 17,273, 42.33 percent of the votes cast.
These unofficial results do not include paper ballots cast by absentee voters and affidavit ballots submitted by those whose name is not on the voter rolls when they arrive at the polling place. Those paper ballots, which include votes for both candidates, will be counted by the BOE next Thursday and will be the deciding factor in this tight race.
Nearly three days after polls closed in the congressional race between Rep. Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the final result still hasn’t been announced and lawyers for Mr. Espaillat are headed to State Supreme Court on Monday to seek an injunction against the City Board of Elections to be allowed to observe the ongoing vote count. On election night earlier this week, the Board of Elections released numbers that indicated Mr. Rangel had won with an insurmountable margin of victory. Since then, reports have emerged of uncounted votes and Mr. Espaillat’s supporters have called for a federal monitor to step in.
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision to hold a hearing on the Board of Elections’ proceedings in the 13th Congressional District race,” Mr. Espaillat said in a statement announcing the court date. “Three days after a winner was declared in this election, there are still votes to be counted. There are more than 70 election districts where votes have not been accounted for….Our campaign has not been allowed to adequately monitor the Board of Elections’ proceedings, as required by law. The BOE continues to stonewall not only our campaign, but also the news media, which is particularly disturbing given that it blocks the free flow of information and transparency – the bedrock of our democratic system.”