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New Tensions Surface Over Ballot Validity in Queens DA Race as Katz Attorney Objects to Cabán Vote

Borough President Melinda Katz. (Melinda Katz)

July 16, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan

As the manual recount in the Queens District Attorney Democratic Primary got underway yesterday, the first ballot objection quickly surfaced, causing yet another rift in the already contentious race.

As Board of Elections staffers began the process of tallying by hand more than 93,000 individual ballots, attorney for Melinda Katz, Frank Bolz, raised an objection to one of the ballots being counted, according to published reports.

The ballot—a vote for Tiffany Cabán—had a distinguishing pen mark on the top of the paper. New York State election law forbids any ballot from being counted that is “marked or signed by the voter in such a way that it can be identified from other ballots,” including “unusual markings not related to indication of the vote choice.” 

Following the objection from the Katz team, the vote was reportedly voided by BOE staff and placed in a folder for objected ballots, which will be officially ruled on at a later date.

The Katz campaign could not be reached for comment. 

Cabán attorney Jeffrey Goldfeder addressed the BOE’s objection process during a press conference on Monday morning, stating that he believes the board will render fair decisions throughout the recount process.

The recount operation, which kicked off on July 9 with a multi-day ballot sorting process, was automatically triggered by Katz’s narrow 16-vote lead over Cabán after affidavit and absentee ballots were counted on July 3. Until that point, Cabán had held a 1,199 vote lead over Katz.

Ballot validity has been an ongoing issue in the DA race, with Cabán, Katz and the BOE currently entangled in a lawsuit concerning the validity of 114 affidavit ballots. 

The 114 ballots in question, which have not yet been counted, each contain errors in the information filled out by the voter and were consequently voided by the BOE. The majority of these ballots—roughly 70—were discounted because the voter did not clearly state their party affiliation.

A final ruling on whether these ballots are valid will be issued by a judge after the end of the manual recount—which is expected no sooner than July 31—but only if the results are still close enough for the 114 uncounted ballots to have an impact.

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9 Comments

Ramon Barkan

This election is being rigged by the Queens Machine , led by Crowley attorneys- Bolz , Sweeney and Reich. They have rigged elections in Queens for decades – sorry if repeating the truth is uncomfortable. They offered Lancman a job – if he stepped down and supported Katz, they want a Crowley to take over Katz job as Borough president- and most importantly they want to keep control of surrogates court so they can continue robbing Queens of tens of millions if dollars for them and Crowley clan. Game over!

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Gardens Watcher

Got proof that Lancman was offered a job to bow out? I didn’t think so. Just more of your trash talk against Democrats under yet another fake name.

Lancman told Politico: “Nobody offered me anything to get out of this race.” He said once the NYTimes endorsed Cabán, he realized he had no chance.

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Will

Still not understanding how the 4000 (permitted) affadavit/absentee ballots can have approximately 65%-35% landslide Katz-Cabán margin, in contrast to the roughly 90,000 ballot 50+% to 50-% Cabán-Katz margin on election night. Can someone adequately explain the huge difference?

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Gardens Watcher

Absentee voters tend to be older, less liberal and probably reliably vote every election. So they would be more likely to vote for a candidate they know like Queens Borough President Katz, or with years of courtroom experience like Judge Lasak, rather than an unknown newcomer like Cabán.

It’s hard to know what effect age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation had on all voters — as well as the various endorsements each candidate received. Good luck figuring out that math!

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Johnny D.

The BOE employees collected the affadavit and absentee ballots – BOE employees , both Republican and Democrats were hired with blessing of Katz volunteer attorneys Bolz and Reich – The BOE workers collected absentee and decided on affadavit at polls etc- I can assure you they would always have helped Katz. BOE republican employees also beholden to Bolz , and would work against Caban.
It has been corrupt there for so long. It is the only way Joe Crowley stayed in Congress so long. Van Bramer, Meeks, Meng – all know how corrupt this process is- but they also are beholden and scared of Bolz, Reich, Sweeney – and their old boss Crowley. They knew they had “collected” enough absentee and affadavit votes -hence Katz arrogance after Cabán declared victory. They had already rigged it, so they knew usual statistics would not apply.

Decades of Crowley led corruption at BOE lingers – and no Queens pols will speak up or Bolz will destroy their careers.

Pathetic.

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Gardens Watcher

Gee, so many mentions of the lawyers. Did you lose your court battle with them?

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RMartinez

The attorneys for Katz – Bolz Reich and Sweeney are “donating” their time to Katz – because they have become multi-millionaires corrupt through Joe Crowley’s Queens machine – Bolz needs Katz to win and Crowley , now a pathetic lobbyist, needs to keep his influence in Queens , hence he supported Katz and gave her money – so corrupt – Bolz was Crowley attorney for years and made sure Crowley always “won”. This has been corruption on Queens courts and election tampering on steroids – by Bolz, Crowley etc and they need Katz to win.

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Gardens Watcher

Your repetitive posts are like a bad robocall that keeps calling every night.

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