The contentious race for disgraced local pol Carl Kruger’s former state senate seat – which represents a district that will no longer exist at the end of the year due to redistricting – is still undecided more than two weeks after the March 20, special election.
In the latest twist, Councilman Fidler’s campaign – which has unofficially pulled ahead based on the recommendations of a panel of judges – is alleging voter fraud by a Storobin consultant.
On Wednesday lawyers representing the campaigns of both Democratic Councilman Lew Fidler and Republican attorney David Storobin met with state Supreme court judge David Smith to work out the next phase of the counting process. The meeting had been prompted by a panel of judges who suggested which of the contested paper ballots should be counted, writes WNYC blog the Empire.
As it stands, the Storobin campaign hangs on to a razor thin three-vote lead. The panel of judges, who were assigned by the court as special referees, looked at more than 210 ballots the campaigns argued should be invalidated for one reason or another.
Out of the 164 ballots the Storobin campaign objected to, 143 of them were ruled valid. Of the 54 Fidler-initiated objections, 35 were overturned by the judges, who said they should be counted.
Assuming the opposing campaigns were looking to take votes away from their opponents, the suggestions the referee judges made to the court are good news for the Fidler campaign. The ballots reviewed by the referee judges have not been officially counted.
In addition to the panel’s recommendation, both campaigns continue their push to discount large numbers of the opposing side’s ballots.
Yesterday, our sister site Sheepshead Bites reported that Lew Fidler’s camp has accused a paid consultant for David Storobin of submitting at least 120 fraudulent votes.
According to a petition filed with the court, Fidler’s team alleges that election consultant Alla Pometko submitted 177 absentee ballot applications to the Board of Elections. Almost all of them claimed to represent disabled home-bound voters, naming Pometko as their agent to submit their ballots.
Fidler claims that of the 120 absentee ballots that were completed, every one appears to be written in the same handwriting, and each “voter” signed his/her envelope with a mark instead of a signature.
The court documents also indicate that Fidler is considering suing the Board of Elections. The councilman is accusing them of not returning up to 200 unsigned absentee ballots to voters for correction, despite having received them with sufficient time to do so, and thereby disenfranchising them.
To many observers, it looks like Councilman Fidler, who up until now has been behind by just a handful of votes, may be edging towards an eventual victory.