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Impound Stalls Vote Tally in Ball/Wagner Race

Court hearing set for Tuesday on the incumbent's challenge to the vote count.

Voting machines in Cortlandt, Peekskill and eight other Westchester municipalities have been impounded, delaying an official outcome in the Wagner vs. Ball state Senate race, a county elections official said.

The court-ordered impound has also made it impossible to announce final figures, though not the apparent winners, in several other contests, he said.

The official, Elections Commissioner Reginald LaFayette, said Republican state Sen. Greg Ball, who was facing a challenge by Democrat Justin Wagner, had cited unspecified “irregularities” in obtaining the impound on election night. Wagner could not be reached Friday; Ball’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In addition to Cortlandt and Peekskill, the order, by state Supreme Court Justice Francesca Connolly, sealed all machines in Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown.

LaFayette said Ball's assertions will be aired at a court hearing Tuesday.

Among the races affected by the impound order were state Assembly contests in the 92nd, 93rd, 94th and 95th districts.

LaFayette downplayed the impact of the court’s order, which suspends vote counting as soon as it’s issued. “We get this routinely every election,” he said.

 “It will affect the numbers in those districts being counted,” he said. “That’s all. . . . This won’t turn a race.”

Ball (R, C, I-Patterson) declared himself the victor over Wagner (D, Working Families-Croton) late Tuesday. Refusing to concede, the Wagner campaign said it would wait for official numbers.

The 40th district also comprises parts of Dutchess and Putnam counties, where unofficial returns showed Ball ahead by almost 7,000 votes in the two-county tally, 19,902 to 12,947.

Earlier, reports suggested that mechanical problems had stalled the vote count in northern Westchester. But LaFayette and a number of town clerks disputed that. “There was no problem with the machines,” LaFayette said. “Nothing unusual.” He said that “every election there’s a machine that goes down—and then it comes back up. That’s true through the history of elections, whether the old machines or the new machines.”

Asked the basis on which the Ball campaign sought the impound order, LaFayette said that an assertion had been made that “there may be some irregularities.”

“We go to court [Tuesday] to hear what they have to say,” he said.

Thomas E. Duggan November 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM
There should be financial consequences to this type request and a requirement that when the application is made an informational hurdle be met before spending taxpayer money on meritless and baseless activity. Although candidates are, in the main, spending other peoples' money, it should be supporters/contributors' money which is at risk and not taxpayers' money.
leesther brown November 12, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Anything the PDCC has their hand in should be checked and re-checked....
Francis T McVetty November 14, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Thomas E. Duggan, I guess every vote should be counted doesn't apply here does it?

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