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City council race causing chaos

Nayaba Arinde | 9/26/2013, 2:14 p.m.

Foy told the AmNews that over the weekend, the counting of the lever machines and some paper ballots cut Cornegy’s lead over him from 94 votes to 90 votes, according to the Board of Elections.

At the crux of this ongoing fight happening in the street-level political theater is Foy’s consternation that the board has thrown out over 1,000 votes. With almost 14,000 votes cast, Foy’s campaign is demanding that 1,000 paper ballots disqualified by the board be counted.

“We win on paper, but we lose with the machines,” Foy told the AmNews. “We want all the votes counted. The Board of Elections invalidated 1,000 ballots—so, in their mind, they are illegitimate—but we want them to be validated.” Foy’s team notes that some of these votes were from Democratic-registered voters who wrote their name, address and votes correctly, but failed to write their Democratic enrollment out on the affidavit form separate from the actual ballot. The Foy team contends that the board knows a voter’s party enrollment and the voters appropriately voted in the correct primary. Also, according to Foy’s campaign team, some of these votes were from voters who voted at the wrong polling place but in the right council district and assembly district after a redistricting year. Voters have expressed that the board failed to adequately notify people of changes to their polling place or provide those directions when they arrived at the wrong polling site.

“There have been inconsistencies with the board throwing out and counting the votes of voters who made the same mistake on an affidavit form,” said Mandela Jones from the Foy campaign. “The board has never given the campaign a total count of the amount of paper ballots by which to hold them accountable for; therefore, the campaign has been forced to rely on just whatever the board has given it.”

The ongoing struggle is to represent Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. “As far as I know, a win is a win—and we won,” Cornegy told the AmNews in his campaign office.

There was talk of going to court. Foy’s campaign said they have to view all the irregularities before any legal actions can be decided.

“Any declaration of victory or political posturing by Mr. Cornegy is not only premature and irresponsible, but highly inappropriate and disrespectful to voters and the democratic process,” Foy said in a statement.

Foy said that originally, the board said that they could not find his paper ballot, or that of his wife, so they were forced to fill in paper ballots. The board eventually found their ballots.

The Board of Elections did not respond to an AmNews request for comment.

According to both camps, this conflict could go on for days—if not weeks—before a decision is made or the all the paper ballots are finally counted.

“The administration of this process by the Board of Elections in such a close race—twice losing the ballots of the candidate and his wife and the discovery of new voting machines, among other irregularities—has given us substantial reasons to review all irregularities before making any decision,” said Tyquana Henderson-Parsons, campaign manager for Kirsten John Foy’s campaign. “What is clear is that the more paper ballots that were counted, the more votes Kirsten John Foy received towards further narrowing the margin. In aiming to protect the sanctity of the vote and ensure all voters’ voices are heard, we are examining the various irregularities that occurred on Election Day and over the past several days at the Board of Elections, and why over 1,000 absentee and affidavit votes have been thrown out in this race.”