Recount fever comes to New York

Most of the media focus on midterm recounts is focused on Florida this week, but that’s not the only action left in this game. In one of the more rural sections of Upstate New York, the race in the 22nd district between GOP Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and Democrat Anthony Brindisi was definitely too close to call, with the initial tally showing Brindisi with a lead of 1,422 out of almost 240,000 votes cast. That’s tight enough as it is, but it turned out that problems with one voting machine in a rural town prevented those votes from being fed into the totals. When that problem was corrected, Brindisi’s lead shrunk even more.

Now the day has nearly come for all of the absentee votes and provisional ballots to be counted, starting tomorrow morning. And everyone involved is watching like a hawk. (WBNG News)

Some Broome County votes were not counted on election night due an issue with a voting machine, resulting in some votes being counted the next day, election officials say.

According to the Broome County Board of Elections, the issue with one voting machine in the town of Barker caused those votes to not be reflected in the unofficial election results on Tuesday.

Following the counting of those votes, election officials say Rep. Claudia Tenney has gained some ground in her race against Anthony Brindisi for the 22nd Congressional District seat.

The unofficial results had Tenney 1,422 votes behind Brindisi. According to the New York State Board of Elections on Thursday, Brindisi’s lead is down to 1,293 votes.

First a brief bit of disclosure. This is my district and I have both voted for and made small campaign contributions to Tenney. I’ve never worked for her or been involved in her campaigns.

With that out of the way, this race really is up in the air. I agree with Ed’s point from yesterday about how recounts and absentee ballots rarely overturn the initial results, but there are exceptions to that rule and this might be one of them. While some Democrats have been calling on Tenney to concede the race, that would have been foolish. We’re talking about a gap of fewer than 1,300 votes. There are more than 13,000 absentee ballots, plus some provisional ballots to be counted, so making up that much of a gap in this part of the state is far from impossible.

A lot of it comes down to where the votes were cast. That malfunctioning voting machine I mentioned above provides a good example. It was located in the Town of Barker, New York, located north of the city of Binghamton. When they finally recorded those results, Tenney had gained a net 129 votes. That may not sound like much, but Barker is out in farm country, boasting one stop light and a population of barely 2,700 people. That’s actually a significant margin in Tenney’s favor.

Roughly half of the absentee ballots being counted tomorrow come from the southern end of the district. That includes the city of Binghamton, where Democrats hold a modest generic ballot advantage, but it also includes a wide swath of suburban and rural country where the GOP has maintained a significant advantage to the present day.

So can Tenney scrape up an advantage of 1,300 votes out the more than 13,000 to be counted? It’s not a sure thing by any means, but given the part of the state where the votes were cast, it’s definitely possible. And the New York GOP needs to hang on to every seat it can these days. Get the popcorn ready because there may be a couple of long nights left to this election.

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