By Robert Press
Thursday afternoon shortly after 12:30 PM there was a roar of accomplishment as the Bronx Board of Elections completed counting the last Absentee Ballot, and the last Affidavit Ballot. Just under fifty-thousand ballots had to be counted from the eleven assembly districts in the Bronx. The last Assembly District that was counted was the 79th Assembly District which held the suspense in the 15th Congressional and other races to the last vote that was counted. Manhattan and Brooklyn remain the only two boroughs not to have finished counting all the ballots yet. Official results should be in no later than August 4th due to party and judicial calls.
One major problem the Board of Elections is going to have is how to declare the party position winners of the Male and Female District Leaders and Male and Female State Committee members from the 79th Assembly District, as well as the Male District Leader and Male State Committee member from the 87th A.D. Slates of candidates in the 79th and 87th Assembly Districts were knocked off the ballot by the Board of Elections on what is known as a technicality. Those candidates went to court and were then placed back on the ballot.
In what is usually the job of a candidate, the Board of Elections appealed the judge's decision to place these candidates back on the ballot. BOE spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez-Diaz told me that the primary day ballots had to be made up before the appeal decision date, and it was not known if the BOE would win their appeal, so the names of the candidates in question were placed on all primary day ballots. At first she said that those ballots would not be counted, then later saying the votes for those candidates would not count. I asked Ms. Vazquez-Diaz to inform me when the BOE had ever challenged a judge's decision to place a candidate back on the ballot since I could not remember when I ever saw it happen. That was ten days ago, and I have not heard back from Ms. Vazquez-Diaz nor the BOE.
In looking at the recap of the Absentee ballot count in the 79th A.D. all four of the candidates who appeared on the ballot, but were knocked off on the appeal by the BOE were leading in all four party positions. These candidates appear in the recap of the vote, because the ballot scanner counted each and every vote for each and every candidate that was on the ballot. Thus there can not be winners declared in the 79th A.D. party position for Male and Female District Leaders and both State Committee members, as well as the position of Male District Leader and Male State Committeeman in the 87th Assembly District where these candidates changed the outcome of the election if they did not come out the winners.
There is also the question of why the BOE allowed 79th Assembly District candidate Elvis Santana to be placed on the ballot while he did not meet the residency requirement of five years residency in New York State to run for the State Assembly. In a check of Mr. Santana's voter registration he only had three years of residency in New York having put a Connecticut address for the two years prior to that. From the unofficial results of the 79th Assembly race Mr. Santana being on the ballot effected the chances of winning by another candidate.
Current City Councilman Ritchie Torres kept his lead over second place finisher soon to be former Assemblyman Michael Blake. A surprise here was that current City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. who was the favorite to win this race appears to have fallen into fourth place behind Samelys Lopez. It has been reported that Blake and now Lopez have not conceded the election yet. Once Councilman Torres leaves office the mayor will have forty-five days to call a special election to replace him. The winner of the special election will then have to run again if challenged in the June primary, and the November general elections in 2021.
More about the counting of the Absentee and Affidavit ballots in the next article.