In that last House race waiting to get resolved — New York’s 1st congressional district — the campaign of Republican challenger Randy Altschuler isn’t quitting yet.
ELECTION DAY: New voting machines (scanners with retained paper ballots) are used for the first time in a statewide General Election. When the polls close returns are unusually slow coming in, not only in the 1st C.D., but across the state. The following morning Altschuler is presumed to have lost by over 3,400 votes.
FRIDAY, 11/5: The voting machines have been returned to the BOE warehouse and the memory chips in the machines are downloaded and a swing of 3,800+ takes place. Altschuler ends the day up by 383. It appears that the reported vote on Election Night was riddled with human error caused by election workers who are unfamiliar with the workings of the new machines. (This same type of situation arose in November 2009 when the new machines were used in 7 of 11 counties that make up New York’s 23rd Congressional District. In this case one candidate gained over 2,500 votes when the memory chips were downloaded.) Almost immediately, the Bishop campaign starts calling for a hand-count of all ballots scanned by machines on Election Day; approximately 184,000 ballots. This came a day after they had ridiculed the Altschuler campaign for wanting a count of the absentee ballots.
TUESDAY, 11/8: Bishop goes to State Supreme Court wanting hand count of all 184,000 scanned ballots judge requests legal basis for the count. The Suffolk County BOE starts a NY State mandated audit of 3% of all machines in the County. This is a statewide mandate to make sure that the new machines are working properly. The BOE finds no problems with the machines when the audit is completed 10 days later.
WEDNESDAY, 11/9: Suffolk County BOE starts count of over 11,000 absentee, military and affidavit (emergency) ballots. This is includes a challenge process by which each campaign challenges ballots prior to them being opened and counted. These challenges can be based on a variety of issues ranging from late postmark to handwriting or residency issues. Challenged ballots are set aside by type of challenge and will not be opened or counted until the challenge is resolved.
TUESDAY, 11/23: Count of approximately 9,000 of the above referenced 11,000+ ballots is completed. Altschuler now trails by 230 votes with over 2,200 challenged ballots remaining to be counted.
MONDAY, 11/29: FOX NEWS runs story citing incidents of fraud in numerous absentee ballots that have been challenged. Under NY State law these are felonies and if convicted the voter can be sentenced to a year in jail. The ballots challenged on a residency basis revolve around individuals with residences in New York City or Florida with multi-million dollar vacation homes vacation homes in the Hamptons and Shelter Island.
WEDNESDAY, 12/1: At close of business Altschuler is behind by 259 votes.
THURSDAY, 12/2: Judge reviewed all challenges based on technical issues.
WEDNESDAY, 12/8: Judge will start to review remaining challenges based on handwriting or residency issues.