4:36 pm Jun. 29, 2012
A New York State supreme court has agreed to hear a challenge from the congressional campaign of Adriano Espaillat to the result of his primary contest against Rep. Charlie Rangel, the Espaillat campaign announced.
Rangel declared victory on Tuesday and finished ahead according to initial returns, but he has yet to be certified as the winner by the Board of Elections.
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision to hold a hearing on the Board of Elections’ proceedings in the 13th Congressional District race," said Espaillat spokesman Ibrahim Khan in a statement announcing the hearing.
After Rangel was declared the winner by the Associated Press, it was discovered that dozens of electoral districts were recorded in preliminary results as having no voters at all, many of which were in areas favorable to Espaillat.
Yesterday, Espaillat supporters convened a press conference in front of Rangel's office in Harlem to call for a full accounting of the missing precincts, and the roughly 3,000 absentee and affidavit ballots that have yet to be counted.
"We are missing results from 74 election districts, with approximately 3,000 paper ballots left uncounted," said Mark Levine, a district leader who backed Espaillat. "And we have strong reason to believe that those election districts and those paper ballots are overwhelmingly concentrated in the 71st and 72nd Assembly District, areas where Senator Espaillat clearly won by large majorities."
The 71st Assembly District is represented by long-time legislator Herman Denny Farrell. The 72nd Assembly District is represented by Guillermo Linares, and until 2010, was represented by Espaillat. Both Linares and Farrell are Rangel supporters.
According to the preliminary results, Rangel and Espaillat split the 71st district fairly evenly, but in the 72nd district, where about 25 electoral districts were initially marked as having no voters, Espaillat was beating Rangel by a 6-to-1 margin.
Khan said Monday's hearing would request that the courts oversee the process.
“Our campaign has not been allowed to adequately monitor the Board of Elections’ proceedings, as required by law," he said in today's release. "The BOE continues to stonewall not only our campaign, but also the news media, which is particularly disturbing given that it blocks the free flow of information and transparency – the bedrock of our democratic system.”
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect that Farrell represents the 71st Assembly District, not the 72nd, and Linares represents the 72nd, not the 71st.