New York: Court Hears Charlie Rangel Ballot Challenge

July 3, 2012

By Joshua Miller, Roll Call

There’s a bit of a worm in the apparent Big Apple primary victory of storied Rep. Charlie Rangel (D).

Rangel originally appeared to have beaten his top competitor, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, by a wide margin. The New York City Board of Elections now says that with normal ballots counted, Rangel is up by only 802 votes, or about 2 percent of votes cast.

But with more than 2,000 other paper ballots, such as provisional and absentee (from city voters as well as military service members overseas), as yet uncounted, his margin could shrink.

The results are still unofficial and there is a possibility, if very slight, that Rangel didn’t actually win the election. Or, at least, that there could be a recount.

The 802-vote margin won’t change until after the Independence Day holiday. “It will stay that way until July 5, when the staff begin to open up all the paper ballots that are outstanding,” Board of Elections Communications Director Valerie Vazquez said.

Espaillat, a voraciously ambitious politico, said that the primary was “a phantom election” and that he knew of a number of instances where voters were turned away from the polls, according to the New York Times.

A New York State Supreme Court judge today heard a complaint from Espaillat’s attorneys.

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