3:35 pm Dec. 3, 2012
Republicans are reportedly seeking to extend the recount process in two State Senate races in which Democrats are either winning or poised to win, as part of a maneuver to stay in the majority for a while longer.
As is always the case with the side that either believes it will lose a recount or has some (related) motive for extending the vote-counting process, the Republicans say they're acting out of concern that every vote be counted correctly.
For State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, this argument ought to hit close to home. She lost her 2005 election for the State Senate by just 18 votes, after a closely watched recount that helped establish new election procedures.
(Stewart-Cousins also happens to be one of the people whose name has been floated as a possible conference leader if and when current Democratic leader John Sampson is pushed aside.)
She rejects the Republicans' argument that delays may be necessary.
"Clearly the electorate has voted for a Democratic majority, despite so much of the machinations that happened with redistricting and beyond," she said.
She also said it was "unconscionable and inexcusable to delay the result" of this year's races.
"I would hope that any judge that is involved in this understands how important it is to resolve this [by] the time we need to get up and going," she said.
I asked Stewart-Cousins when the unsettled state of the Senate might become a problem for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said he wants the chamber to be functional but has not yet shown any inclination to try to do anything about it.
"I can't tell you when the governor thinks it's going to be a problem," she said. "I imagine the governor is interested, as most of my colleagues are, in providing a united and non-chaotic face to the people of New York at the beginning of the new year."
UPDATE: Scott Reif, a spokesman for the Senate Republicans, emailed, "We have no intention of delaying the outcome of either of these outstanding races. However, we do have an obligation to exclude ballots which were fraudulently cast so we can protect the integrity of the democratic process."
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