Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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The Berkshires

46th Senate District race in court

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Albany/HV: 46th Senate District race in court
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Attorneys for republican George Amedore and democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk presented opening arguments in court in the race for the 46th Senate District. As our Lori Chung reports, the task for the judge presiding over the case is determining what precedent will guide the handling of more than 800 contested ballots.

FONDA, N.Y. -- With opposing campaigns that see eye to eye on very little, Judge Guy Tomlinson hoped attorneys for republican George Amedore and democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk could agree on a strategy to deal with ballots in Montgomery and Schenectady counties on Tuesday, handling objections related to the ballot envelopes, then opening the ballots and counting the vote inside.

"With the parties here, with the boards here, it would save us some time," Judge Tomlinson said.

But even as the clock ticks towards the new year, republicans stand opposed to opening ballots, urging not to rush the case in this new 46th District, which could determine which party controls the senate.

"This process, because of the nature of it and what's at stake, this is going to be resolved in appellate courts and I would submit to you that the less we have to bring them, the better off we all are," said David Lewis, Amedore campaign attorney.

The tally now has Amedore up by 111 votes. Montgomery County Supreme Court decided the 887 contested absentee and affidavit ballots in question, most of them unopened and objected to by the GOP.

"Open the ballots, review the face of the ballot, have the commissioners rule, have the court address that ruling and then you go up an appeal," said Kathleen O’Keefe, Tkaczyk campaign attorney.

With Democrats feeling that the numbers are in Tkaczyk's favor, they spent the day pushing for a timely resolution. Tomlinson ultimately ruling to deal with issues dealing with the ballot envelopes in all five counties in the district before opening ballots. Another key issue here? The residency of hundreds of contested ballots, many of them in Ulster County, where a good number of voters also live in New York City.

Tomlinson also allowed republicans to subpoena information like cable bills and voting records to challenge those ballots, as democrats argue that dual residency has already be settled by the courts.

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