It’s been two weeks since the counting began, yet only about 2,000 of the roughly 10,000 absentee and affidavit ballots have been counted in the undecided race between Democrat Terry Gipson and Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie.
Democratic elections commissioner Fran Knapp today ripped the slow pace, accusing Senate Republicans of intentionally challenging legitimate Democratic ballots to delay the count. Gipson, left, held a 1,700-vote lead after Election Day, but the lead is down to 1,450 because more than 1,000 ballots have been challenged, she said, mainly Democratic votes.
“They are really just delaying it. It’s obvious to me,” Knapp told Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
Knapp questioned whether the vote count would be finished by year’s end, despite a judge’s order to speed the count.They are up to three tables of counting, but got through only about 600 ballots yesterday.
That plays into a theory floated by the New York Post’s Fred Dicker in his column Monday that the Senate GOP wants to hold up the finish in the Saland race and the other outstanding seat in the Albany area so they can elect a Republican leader without the necessary 32 votes.
Knapp said the staff at the county Board of Elections has made 40,000 copies of ballots and other materials, mainly at the request of Republicans’ lawyers — headed by Robert Farley, an $108,000-a-year attorney for Senate Republicans and the son of Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna.
“Why are we wasting time getting more copies when we’ve already given them to them? It’s definitely a delay tactic,” Knapp said.