Southern Brooklyn

With Vote Split Evenly, Fidler-Storobin Campaigns Head To Court


Board of Election workers spent most of last week tallying up hundreds of absentee and affidavit ballots in the race to replace Carl Kruger, with the week ending in a dead heat: Republican David Storobin’s 120 vote lead from election night shrank down to just a single vote.

Both sides challenged their fair share of ballots, though, with the Storobin campaign claiming the Fidler campaign was strategically targeting challenges of ballots cast by voters with Russian-sounding last names – while the Fidler campaign claimed Storobin’s team was doing so towards older Jewish residents. In the end, Storobin’s team had challenged a handful of ballots more than Fidler’s.

Now the count has stopped, as lawyers on both sides have agreed to let the courts resolve the count. According to Politicker’s Colin Campbell:

The judge has appointed two “Special Referees” to hear ballot objections made by both sides on the contested absentee votes (i.e. one campaign may believe signature similarity on certain ballots indicates the votes were fraudulent).

On April 4th, the judge will review the Special Referees’ findings.

This could either close the book on the election by officially placing one of the candidates above the 110 vote threshold needed to avoid a full hand recount, or set the stage for such a recount where campaigns and the courts review all 20,000 ballots cast in this election.

With any luck, district residents may enjoy the privilege of representation in the State Senate for a week or two before the seat is eliminated entirely.

Comment policy


  1. This is so bizarre, that, out of 20,000 votes, it should be so close, but this is typical of the circus that Brooklyn politics has become.  If anything is to be learned from all this, it’s that, in a volatile political climate with changing voter demographics and impending redistricting, victories can no longer be assumed and that every vote really does count.

  2. The circus is not about the numbers but about the environment in which this election took place. Most telling, perhaps, is that this special election was well promoted by the candidates and yet the turnout was so small. It means that all the effort to convince voters that this election mattered was unsuccessful.

    Storobin’s attempt to tie his candidacy to the restoration of “traditional values” didn’t stir as many people as he thought it would. And it is also possible that a number of Democratic-leaning voters still did not perceive the fact that the Republican Party is no longer somnolent in these parts. Had those voters received more directed mailings from Storobin’s campaign (it did seem that election mailings were scientifically directed) it’s possible that Fidler’s numbers would have increased enough to give him a statistical victory that would have held up under re-examination.

  3.  It always amazed me that in a race of 1 1/8 miles  one horse would be called winner by a nose

  4. I would have to think that even if after counting all the ballots one guy has ONE vote more then the other that would have to make him the winner.  Whoever has the most at the end wins, right?  One more then the next is the most.  Just my opinion.

  5. Lisann, actually the turnout was quite high for a special election like this. Most pundits/pollsters expected about 12-14K voters, so 20,000 was a lot and with the Democrat vs. Republican enrollment in the District, this shold have ensured a Fiddler victory. Convential wisdow expected the more voters turning out, the more Democrats would be voting, thus Fidler should have romped. Instead, with both the Turner and now Stroban showings, we are living in an emerging neo-Con community where Great Russian nationalism and Orthodox hegemony will compete to set the agenda for the rest of us going forward.

  6. 20,000 wouldn’t have been a very high turnout if this had been a general election. But what I think we are seeing is a very unmotivated electorate. If the various demographic units that were supposed to be geared up voted on March 18th Storobin would have had a sizable victory. Or perhaps not. Fidler, being known to leaders in those communities, had support there also. Perhaps not strong support, but many would stay home, not vote for his opponent.

    The Turner victory was, in part, the result of the dynamizing of the more conservative elements in the community. But I also think that there were other factors at work as well. Support for Weprin was lukewarm at best. Another special election, a turnout that was below normal (though not as greatly-compare the numbers with those of the general election results in 2010)

    Nevertheless, things have changed. The Democratic Party now has to fight to get elected here, it can no longer be taken for granted.

  7. I think that what cinched it for Turner was when Ed Koch threw Weprin under the bus to stick it to Obama on Israel.

  8. But both Turner and Storobin did pander to the theocons on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is still a federal issue, but, in New York State, is a fait accompli not subject to repeal.

  9. figures, my mom wasn’t feeling well and didn’t vote, and she said “what would my 1 vote do anyway”. See mom….

  10. I’m going to consult my textbooks and try to figure out the probability of the election being this close…. If I can remember stuff I learned in 1978, before Storobin was born!

  11. That election was decided by the judicial system despite the fact that Gore won the popular vote. It’s a valid comparison despite the Electoral College. 

  12. You’re surprised that the electorate is unmotivated? In a meaningless election for a district that is going to be taken away from us? You’re kidding right?

  13. They are always unmotivated. Period.

    But this election was to be an acid test. Both sides saw it that way. That is why it is being so strongly contested. In theory this election would either permanently change the perception that the Republican Party was a non-starter in local election or send them back to the minor league status they’ve had here for generations.

    For a nonsense election there has been a lot coverage. Most likely because the media is well aware of the perceived message the result would give.

  14. Bush was going president no matter what,once the governor of Florida (Jeb Bush at the time,red meat for  you conspiracy kooks,) certified to the archivist the electoral collage vote in Florida. The only place to appeal that would then have been ultimately the house of representatives. Since a majority of the state delegations in the house of representatives  were republican (it wasn’t even close) then the house of representatives if the electoral college had been challenged and thrown into turmoil would have chosen the president. His name would have been Gorge W Bush. Regardless of what the united states supreme court did,regardless of what the Florida supreme court did. The Florida legislature under our federal constitution could trump the Florida supreme court which time and again was changing the standard for counting ballots. So the judicial tyranny was the Florida supreme court. The US supreme court stepped in to stop the judicial tyranny of the Florida supreme court. In any event it was Gore who went to court in the first place and it was the house of representatives ultimately who would have had the power to choose the president of the United States and they would have chosen Bush. So Bush was going to be president period. Case closed.  

    speaking of the much misunderstood electoral college:

    The Electoral College has become an extremely unpopular feature of our Constitution in recent decades, especially after the 2000 election, when Democrat Al Gore won the largest number of popular votes (though still less than 50 percent), but George W. Bush won the presidency because he won more electoral votes. The modern liberal complains that the Electoral College method of choosing the president is anti-democratic. The Founders would have answered: Precisely.The logic of the Electoral College needs to be understood within the broader logic of the Founders’ main concern with avoiding the tyranny of the majority—the historic downfall of most democracies. While the president was conceived as a counterweight to the majoritarian tendencies of Congress, the Founders also worried that the president himself could be the focus of populist majoritarianism if he were a directly and popularly elected figure. The Founders believed that presidents who were concerned with popularity—as all modern presidents are—would be more prone to demagoguery. There was little debate at the Philadelphia Convention on this question: the Founders most emphatically did not want the president chosen by direct popular election.

     The Electoral College system, in which each state gets one vote for each representative in the House and one vote for each of its senators, should be seen as one more of the many subtle checks to tyranny of the majority in the Constitution—like the separation of powers and the indirect election of senators. (Remember that at the time of the Founding and up until the early twentieth century, the Senate was chosen by state legislatures rather than by popular election. It is no accident that the move to direct election of U.S. senators coincided with the transformation of the presidency during the  Progressive Era.)

    Just as it was thought—correctly, for the most part—that state legislatures would choose eminent men for the Senate, the Founders believed that an electoral college would prove a “filtering” mechanism by which eminent men of sound disposition and broad appeal would be chosen for president.

    Modern critics of the Electoral College fail to understand that the Founders wanted to create a certain type of democratic republic, one that did not run by simple majority rule, but rather one whose institutions would create a certain type of majority—a deliberative majority—a majority less prone to the unsound populist passions of the moment, and to self-interest. In simple language, the Founders wanted to generate majorities that think. This is one reason for the many constitutional limits on government power, the deliberate procedural and institutional roadblocks to hasty lawmaking, our independent judiciary, and American federalism.

    The Electoral College is entirely consistent with the Founders’ aim of creating what might be called, in contrast to a simple majority, a constitutional majority. The electoral college assists in generating a deliberative majority by compelling candidates to get votes distributed among all the states—large and small; north, south, east, and west; industrial and agricultural; urban and rural—and not just in big cities or a handful of populous states. A presidential candidate has to keep the diverse interests of different states and populations in mind to win a truly national majority. Candidates with only regional appeal, such as Strom Thurmond in 1948 or George Wallace in 1968, cannot succeed in winning the constitutional majority required by the Electoral College.

    The controversial 2000 election actually shows the logic of the Electoral College playing out as the Founders intended. While Al Gore won about 500,000 more popular votes than George W. Bush, Bush won majorities in thirty states, while Gore only won majorities in twenty. In fact, the entire margin of Gore’s popular majority came from just a single large state—California—meaning that he actually received fewer votes than Bush in the other forty-nine states. Bush’s votes were more evenly distributed throughout the nation than Gore’s—which is exactly the logic of a constitutional majority, as opposed to a mere popular majority. In other words, Bush was more widely acceptable to the nation than Gore was. The 2000 election showed the Electoral College system at its best, ensuring that the interests of small states could make a difference—something the delegates from small states worried about in 1787.

    (Both Richard Nixon in 1968 and Bill Clinton in 1992 received only about 43 percent of the popular vote in a three-way election, but both had large majorities in the Electoral College—bolstering the legitimacy of election results, and therefore the stability of the country.)

    Al Gore lost the traditionally Democratic state of West Virginia in part because of his well-known hostility to the coal industry, one of the state’s major economic sectors. Had Gore won West Virginia as Democratic presidential candidates typically have, he would have won the Electoral College, and the fracas in Florida would not have mattered. (Gore also lost his home state of Tennessee, in part because of his hostility to coal and also because of his ambivalence about gun control.)

    The Constitution did not specify how the individual states were to select their electors for the Electoral College, but most adopted some scheme of popular election, and the winner-take-all format that we know today. This method of choosing electors has the advantage of transforming a small majority or even a mere plurality in the popular vote into a large constitutional majority in the Electoral College vote.

    Political parties, which developed rapidly in the early years of the American republic, came to perform some of the same “filtering” function as the Electoral College, especially in the long-time practice of party bosses meeting and compromising on what candidate a party should put forward for the presidency. Although the Electoral College has survived, the rise of primary elections and the decline of parties has moved our presidential selection closer to the kind of populist demagogic system the Founders feared.

  15. Wow, that is some well researched information about the Electoral College, very informative, bravo. The founding fathers also had slaves and didn’t think women had the intelligence to handle voting either.

    In any case, how exactly does this change anything in regards to Storobin being a slimy git and smeghead?

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