Republican chairman Greg Fingar's plan which he announced by press release last week, in which he agreed to open all of the ballots being challenged on residency, did not materialize.
GOP attorney James Walsh did not withdraw the challenges based on residency, much to the astonishment of most of the people in the audience and apparently to Judge Nichols as well.
The judge was very clear that the Appellate Division's ruling had ordered that all ballots that had been challenged on the basis of residency must be opened. He then asked Jim Walsh why all ballots should not be opened. Walsh explained that they had other objections in addition to residency, for example, on the basis of the veracity of the application or the absentee envelope. The judge was once again very clear that if veracity related to residency, it could no longer be challenged. If the challenges were related to signature or the voter’s whereabouts on election day, then they could be challenged. Judge Nichols also warned Walsh not to try and add new objections.
Walsh stipulated to the opening of 5 ballots. He then (after a phone call to "his client") offered to agree to open another 12-15 if the Democrats would stipulate to certify the election of Betty Young as Taghkanic Supervisor. That was not agreed to, since the Democrats believe that all election results should be certified at the same time. Walsh then asked the judge to certify the election since it was no longer in dispute. Judge Nichols refused to get involved, saying the decision is up to the Board of Elections. In the end they agreed to open a total of 17 ballots out of the 66 left to count.
Walsh then proceeded to interpret a portion of the Appellate Division's opinion, claiming that it conflicted with the opinion of the 2nd Dept. He felt he and the Republicans were being denied an opportunity to challenge ballot applications since the law prohibits them from reviewing them prior to the election. Kathleen O'Keefe (attorney for the Columbia County Democratic Committee and the Democratic candidates) and the judge disagreed with him; however, the judge agreed to allow Walsh to brief the issue, which is due Jan. 6th. Reply briefs are due Jan. 11th. He also instructed Walsh to provide a list of each voter and the specific reasons the voter is being challenged. The Republicans have still not ever provided this.
The judge made it absolutely clear that these ballots should be opened and that he is skeptical of Walsh’s claim that there are additional challenges (other than residency) to the remaining 49 ballots. We too are skeptical. The Republicans know how many votes they need to win the Taghkanic elections—so they are trying to challenge just enough (and have them voided) so they can win. All the Republicans have done is delay the inevitable.
The 17 ballots that were opened today at the BOE—all of them went to the Democratic candidates…
We will not rest
until every vote
that should be counted,
Read More:The Right to Vote in Taghkanic and
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