The count is finally over.
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney is ahead of insurgent candidate Suraj Patel in the Democratic primary contest for New York’s 12th Congressional district after weeks of waiting for the thousands of absentee ballots to be counted. The Board of Elections completed the count earlier this week, according to Maloney’s campaign, and the longtime incumbent leads Patel by more than 3,700 votes — a much stronger margin than the 648 ballots separating herself from Patel on the night of the June 23 election.
“The Congresswoman is delighted, now that the Board of Elections has finished their preliminary scans of absentee ballots, to have a decisive winning margin of over 3,700 votes,” a spokesperson from the Maloney campaign said in a statement. “Both she and the campaign are thankful and appreciative of all our volunteers and supporters, whose hard work and perseverance have made this possible.”
While Patel has publicly acknowledged Maloney’s lead, he made it clear that he would not concede until his lawsuit — filed against the state’s BOE and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — regarding invalidated ballots is resolved.
Of the 95,000 votes cast in the 12th district, more than 65,000 of them were via absentee ballots. And, according to Patel’s campaign, 1200 of the absentee ballots were invalidated because they were missing a postmark the envelope or the BOE received the ballot after the June 30th deadline. Earlier in the campaign, all four candidates, including Maloney, Patel, Lauren Ashcraft and Pete Harrison, called on the BOE to reinstate those ballots. Now, Patel is suing in pursuit of that aim.
“Courts have held that you are not entitled to a perfect election, but you are entitled to a free and fair one,” Patel said in a statement. “Unfortunately, in ours, thousands of voters never received their ballots, and for those who returned their ballots by mail, nearly 25 percent were rejected. This is not just slightly above the norm compared with other states. It’s 100 times the rejection rate of Wisconsin. It shatters any semblance of normalcy — states like Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, South Carolina, and Mississippi all have invalidation rates under 1 percent.”