No surprises here. President Barack Obama and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand both emerged victorious in New York State tonight.
Although countless voters remain in line at New York City precincts, which are required to remain open for all voters who showed up before 9 p.m., the Empire State’s overall preference for Democrats was still enough to overwhelm any ambiguity as to the ultimate victor.
As absentee ballots were being counted today for last week’s State Senate special election, both campaigns had the opportunity to challenge ballots initially ruled valid, causing those votes to be set aside for later evaluation in a fairly normal procedural process. However, in a statement blasted out this evening, the campaign of the Republican candidate, David Storobin, charged that operatives working for the Democratic candidate, Lew Fidler, were systemically gaming the count by targeting ballots with Russian names on them (Mr. Storobin is himself a Russian immigrant).
Although the total number of challenges from both side are not immediately available, it is generally true that if one campaign challenges many more ballots than the other, it creates an appearance of a larger lead than reality, which sets in when many or most of those contested ballots are confirmed to be valid and returned to the count after the uncontested votes have finished being tallied.
As the first day of counting absentee votes in last week’s special election to replace corrupt former State Senator Carl Kruger came to a close this evening, Republican candidate David Storobin led Democratic Lew Fidler by just 37 votes, a source familiar with the situation told The Politicker.
Only 296 votes have been counted, about half of the 757 valid absentee votes when one takes into account that some valid votes were contested and placed aside for the moment. Additionally, hundreds more ballots initially ruled to be invalid are out there for both campaigns to contest, some of which are likely to be brought back into play.
At this moment, Republican candidate David Storobin has a 119 vote lead over his Democratic opponent Lew Fidler in last Tuesday’s State Senate special election in Brooklyn, up one vote from yesterday, according to a source following the proceedings.
Write-in votes are currently being tabulated, but New York law does not allow write-in votes to be cast for candidates actually on the ballot, and they will not impact the margin between the two candidates.
What will affect the tally are the absentee ballots, which will start being counted next Wednesday.