NEW YORK - The state Board of Elections says it will appeal a federal judge's decision ordering thousands of absentee ballots from New York’s June primaries be counted after they were invalidated for lacking postmarks.
This comes as the city Board of Elections finally certified the June race results.
In a problem more pronounced in Brooklyn than in other boroughs, the postal service neglected to date-stamp some ballots, leading them to be thrown out even if the voters mailed them on time.
U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres ruled in favor of Assembly candidate Emily Gallagher and congressional candidate Suraj Patel.
“But the Constitution is not so toothless,” she wrote in her decision. “When voters have been provided with absentee ballots and assured that their votes on those ballots will be counted, the state cannot ignore a later discovered, systemic problem that arbitrarily renders those ballots invalid.”
State Board of Elections co-chair Douglas Kellner said he believed the changes ordered by Torres “will place a tremendous burden on the local boards of elections as they are preparing for the November general election and is highly unlikely to change the results in any contest.”
Patel is trailing Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney by 3,700 votes following the absentee-ballot count.
He has estimated that 1,200 ballots in their district were thrown out because they lacked postmarks.
Torres’ decision called for about 800 of those to be tallied.
Maloney in a statement Tuesday applauded the ruling as a win for voters but also called on Patel to “concede that the voters have spoken and stop validating Trump’s undermining our democratic processes.”
Patel isn’t ready to do so.
He said he may seek more injunctive relief.
“The democratic process does not stop when it becomes politically inconvenient for you,” Patel said. “I have no reason to concede this race because we thousands of ballots left to count.”
Trump has sought to use New York’s primaries to undermine the legitimacy of mail-in voting ahead of his reelection contest.
He has singled out the race between Maloney and Patel.
“It’s been a total disaster,” Trump said Monday. “They’re six weeks into it now. They have no clue what’s going on. And I mean, I think I can say right here and now, I think you have to rerun that race because it’s a mess.”
The president has falsely alleged there were lost and fraudulent ballots in the race.