Lawyers' holiday to be cut for ballot counting
The Thanksgiving holiday will likely be cut short for lawyers counting votes in the 46th Senate District, according to a supplemental court order issued Tuesday.
As the Gazette reported last night, Judge Guy Tomlinson has tweaked the vote counting process in the race between Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk and Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam. The new process appears to recognize the optimistic nature of the initial plan, which will still begin on Nov. 19.
The supplemental order from Tomlinson is available below.
Initially, a process was approved that would allow only one county to review affidavit and absentee ballots at a time. This was at the request of the attorneys for the two candidates. Additionally, votes could be counted at only one table at a time.
This schedule was questioned by boards of elections commissioners from the district.
Now multiple tables will be allowed, starting in the afternoon, if the local board of elections commissioners determine they won't finish counting paper ballots in one day. "If the process is so lengthy that the Commissioners determine it is necessary to break before finishing, canvassing will continue the next morning with multiples tables, notwithstanding that the parties are required to begin canvassing in another county," wrote Tomlinson in his order.
Amedore attorney David Lewis has been particularly opposed to counting multiple counties at once, arguing that he didn't have the staff to review multiple tables in one location at once, let alone multiple counties. His staff includes James Walsh and Michael Cuevas, who are veterans of paper ballot counting that covered multiple counties and multiple tables at once.
In his order Tomlinson says no canvassing will happen on Thanksgiving, but it can continue the day after and the next. It is possible that Albany, Greene and Montgomery counties could count ballots on those days.
This could be a big problem for Lewis, who said in court that his big family vacation is during the Thanksgiving holiday, when they leave the state. Tkaczyk attorney Frank Hoare did not announce his vacation plans in court.
The next week counting of paper ballots is scheduled to start in Schenectady and Ulster counties.
This week the five counties are reviewing the machine vote totals from Election Day and ensuring there weren't any mistakes. No changes are expected in the current vote total, which has Tkaczyk up 139 votes over Amedore.
There are more than 9,000 absentee ballots and potentially more than 1,000 affidavit ballots that need to be counted.