Friday, November 13, 2009

New York Election Highlights Uncounted Absentees

Just goes to show, mistakes by human hands and minds can be made in any election, so candidates should never concede until the unofficial results are made official and all absentee ballots and potentially any provisional ballots are counted as well.

Net the Truth Online

Recanvassing shows NY-23 race tightens even as Rep. Bill Owens is sworn into House seat
By Mark Weiner / The Post-Standard
November 12, 2009, 6:02AM

Washington -- Conservative Doug Hoffman conceded the race in the 23rd Congressional District last week after receiving two pieces of grim news for his campaign: He was down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night, and he had barely won his stronghold in Oswego County.

As it turns out, neither was true.

But Hoffman’s concession -- based on snafus in Oswego County and elsewhere that left his vote undercounted -- set off a chain of events that echoed all the way to Washington, D.C., and helped secure passage of a historic health care reform bill.

Democratic Rep. Bill Owens was quickly sworn into office on Friday, a day before the rare weekend vote in the House of Representatives. His support sealed his party’s narrow victory on the health care legislation.

Now a recanvassing in the 11-county district shows that Owens’ lead has narrowed to 3,026 votes over Hoffman, 66,698 to 63,672, according to the latest unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

Vote: Hoffman closes in on Owens
RESULTS UNLIKELY TO CHANGE: Recounts, absentee ballot count continue in historic 23rd District election

...The gap between Mr. Owens and Mr. Hoffman has shrunk by 2,159 since election night, after Oswego and Jefferson elections commissioners discovered human error had led to inaccurate reporting of results.

Mr. Hoffman trailed in Jefferson County on election night by 557 votes. Now he's up here by 424 votes. The Conservative candidate led in Oswego County by 500 votes on election night. Now he leads by 1,748 votes.

Sean M. Hennessey, Jefferson County Democratic elections commissioner, said poll inspectors in four districts reported Mr. Hoffman had received zero votes after inadvertently reading the wrong line of the poll system's printout. The commissioner said results in some other districts were either incorrectly relayed by the poll worker or incorrectly typed by the part-time staff answering phones at the county department.

"The machines were not at fault," said Jerry O. Eaton, county Republican elections commissioner. "It's all human error that happens every election."

The shrinking deficit spurred some conservative bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin, to wonder aloud Thursday if Mr. Hoffman had given up on the race too early.


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