FONDA The legal battle over 887 ballots set aside in the 46th Senate District race is slowly proceeding, as objections are being heard on each individual contested ballot.
Montgomery County Acting Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson on Thursday, Nov. 29, set the schedule for ballots to be addressed, starting in Schenectady County and being followed by Montgomery County. On Monday, Dec. 3, Tomlinson heard arguments from both parties on what the process should be. It was still unclear on Wednesday, Dec. 5, morning whether ballots will be opened in the court or at each Board of Elections office in the district’s five counties.
The first wave of objections to ballots was heard on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and Tomlinson heard the 71 contested ballots in Schenectady County. Those ballots consisted of 42 objections from Republican George Amedore’s attorneys and 29 from Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk’s attorneys. Tomlinson ruled to count 35 of the ballots, of which around 20 were contested by Amedore’s attorneys.
Gary Ginsburg, representing Tkaczyk’s campaign, said Democrats are still confident of a victory despite being down 111 votes from Amedore.
“As these ballots are opened, Cecilia Tkaczyk’s victory will be confirmed and she looks forward to hitting the ground running to serving the constituents in the 46 Senate District,” Ginsburg said. “As the process continues we are hoping that the pace speeds up a little bit and we are able to open the ballots quickly.”
It is unclear how long it will be before a winner can be declared, but at the earliest it would be around the end of next week. Ulster County was selected to be addressed last, and Tkaczyk did well there on Election Day and in absentee ballots.
The majority of the objections, 650 in total, were made by Amedore’s campaign. Most of the ballots set aside are from Ulster County. Republicans made 400 objections there, and Democrats 60. The majority of objections to ballots are focused on residency issues.
The outcome of the race was integral to what party would control the state Senate, with Democrats and Republicans neck and neck. Of the 63 seats, Democrats held 32 after the election and were leading in one undecided race alongside the Amedore- Tkaczyk race.
All that changed on Tuesday, Nov. 4, when members of the Independent Democratic Conference and Republicans announced the two would form a governing collation to control the chamber.