While Rep. Charles Rangel of New York celebrates a major primary victory this week – his toughest challenge in 42 years – the state is stepping in on ballot complaints that could wind up changing the results.
New unofficial numbers released Saturday night by the New York City Board of Elections show Rangel ahead of his main challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, by only two percentage points – 44% to 42% – with just 802 votes separating them and more than 3,000 votes unaccounted for. The figures come after Espaillat’s campaign filed a lawsuit contending too many ballots were left outstanding in Tuesday’s election.
“Four days after polls closed, we finally have a preliminary vote count, excluding thousands of paper ballots. With each new tally, Senator Espaillat’s vote total increases. As paper ballots begin to be counted and this dead-heat race continues, we are grateful to all of our supporters and will continue to push for full transparency in counting every single vote,” said Espaillat’s spokesperson Ibrahim Khan in a statement.
The state Supreme Court decided Friday to hold a hearing on the election results, which is on the docket for Monday, according to the court system.
As a former NYC resident, I can say one thing: The voting machines are ancient. (They’re those giant metal ones with the pull down arm and a lot of clicking noises. When I voted for president in 2008, I pulled the lever too hard and messed up the machine, forcing everyone in my precinct to have to vote by provisional ballot.)
I’ve often wondered what would happen if they’d be able to count the votes within any reasonable margin of error in a closely contested NYC election. Looks like we’ll find out, but I predict it’s going to be messy.