Last night, John talked about the surprising possibility that the congressional district where he lives looks dangerously close to flipping back to the GOP. (A Democrat flipped the traditionally red seat to blue in 2018.) The problem is that the Republican challenger is only ahead by a little less than 5,000 votes and there were still 175,000 mail-in ballots left to count. Since Democrats across the country were generally far more excited about doing early, mail-in voting than most Republicans, that could mean that the Democratic incumbent could still be declared to be the winner by a wide margin when the counting is finished. On the other side of the country, I happen to live in New York’s 22nd district where we have a somewhat similar situation playing out.
In 2018, Democrat Anthony Brindisis, most widely-known for the infamous mob connections to his father’s law firm, narrowly defeated Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. The vote was so close that it was nearly three weeks before the race was called and Tenney conceded. She came back this year to win the primary and challenge Brindisi for her old seat. As of yesterday, it looked like she’s holding onto a more comfortable lead than the one we’re seeing in John’s district But, yet again, we’re lacking a lot of information about the pending absentee ballots. (Syracuse.com)
U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi will likely need to win the absentee ballot count over Claudia Tenney by a margin of at least 2-to-1 if he wants to keep his seat in Congress.
Brindisi, D-Utica, told voters in the 22nd Congressional on Wednesday to prepare “for a long couple of weeks” as up to 70,160 absentee ballots are counted in the district.
He’s betting that he can overcome a 28,000-vote lead that Tenney built up on Election Day. Tenney, a Republican from New Hartford, won the in-person vote at the polls, 53-42%, according to unofficial election returns.
The race in NY-22 is a mess for multiple reasons that should be obvious by now. The in-person voting on election day went to Tenney by double digits, 53-42. The live-updating Associated Press tracker showed Tenney up by nearly 30,000 votes, including early voting and the mail-in ballots they had received thus far. The headlines in the local press for this race say that they are still waiting to finish counting “up to 70,160 absentee ballots.” But that’s how many ballots they sent out. Obviously, not all of them will have been returned, though a good portion might.
Adding to the initial confusion was the fact that the results from one entire county were missing from the initial totals. Why? Because somebody hacked into the Chenango County Board of Elections computer systems with a ransomware attack. This is the level of system integrity we have for the machines tallying our votes?
The next problem is that New York, like many other blue states, extended the window for when ballots could be received and counted out to November 10th, a full week after election day. They’re technically supposed to have been postmarked by election day, but we’ve seen how that’s been going in other states. Brindisi is no doubt counting on someone to keep “finding” more ballots all weekend. Still, he would need to win the mail-in ballot war by a better than two-to-one margin to overcome Tenney’s lead.
If you don’t think that could still magically happen, you haven’t been paying attention. It really looks as if Tenney has a significantly good chance of prevailing, but as we discussed in a different article this morning, the more ballots that keep showing up over the next four days and the more the vote total shifts, the less confident people will be in the results. This system needs to be completely rethought and improved.