Bishop and Altschuler 'Whittling Down' Challenged Votes

Both sides will meet tomorrow, working toward adjudication process on Wednesday.

Representatives of U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, and Republican opponent Randy Altschuler will meet on Tuesday to continue to hash out the votes they have each challenged in the First Congressional District race.

Both sides will meet Tuesday morning at Board of Elections headquarters in Yaphank to try and cut down the number of challenged votes between both sides. In addition, 71 military votes will be counted. From there, a judge will determine on Wednesday what to do with the remaining ballots.

"We can start dismissing some of these challenged votes and call it a day," said Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider. "Or we have to get ready for a lengthy process. At some point, reason has to win out, because in order for these challenges to be successful, you have to prove that fraud was committed."

Indeed, an investigation by the Fox News Voter Fraud Unit, posted on Monday, claimed that 48 absentee ballots, out of 438 reviewed, held 'active' voting status at two mailing addresses. The majority of Altschuler's challenges were based on residency, worrying that many second homeowners were illegally voting in the First Congressional District race. Holding active voting status in more than one jurisdiction is illegal.

Each individual ballot will not be adjudicated, Schneider said, but rather many will be grouped into bunches, such as 31 Stony Brook University student votes Altschuler challenged. Likewise, Altschuler's spokesman, Rob Ryan, said last week that Bishop's representatives challenged Board of Election workers, which could potentially be grouped together as well.

Tuesday's step comes after both sides met on Monday and cut out approximately 250 challenges on both sides, said Schneider. According to Schneider, after absentee and affidavit counting ended last week, Altschuler had challenged 1,261 votes, and Bishop 790. He said that Bishop currently holds a 235-vote lead.

Ryan could not confirm that the challenged ballots had been 'un-challenged,' saying he had not spoken to Altschuler's lawyer since early Monday afternoon. But "that sounds about right," he said.

"Whittling down" the number of challenges, as Schneider called it, is the most recent step of a process that started four weeks ago which will ultimately determine the winner of the nation's last contested Congressional race.

After election night on Nov. 2, Bishop unofficially held a lead of 3,461 votes. A recanvass of electronic voting machines evaporated Bishop's lead into a 383-vote deficit, as close to 40 percent of election districts reported errors in transferring numbers on election night. After absentee ballot counting began, Bishop gained votes every day.

"We're at the two- or three-yard line," said Bishop last week, following the completion of absentee and affidavit ballots. "We're not 100 percent done. But we're very close."

Dottie Benedict December 01, 2010 at 07:49 PM
It would not surprise me to find out that people have TWO residencies especially in the Hamptons where Bishop is from. Fox finds out things the democrates have been hiding for years that why they dont like them. I hope no one gets paid off in this election
Andrew December 01, 2010 at 11:32 PM
Republicans own the election machines for christ's sake. The democrats should use every possible method to make it a fair fight.
Erica Wells December 02, 2010 at 12:20 AM
Andrew, I completely agree with you. I was going to say it but I didn't want to stir the pot. Democrats have been hiding things? What about the two elections that were rigged and stolen by Bush allowing him to start a huge war in the Middle East that has plunged our society into poverty and destitution?
Erica Wells December 02, 2010 at 12:22 AM
Excuse me, two pre-emptive, unjustified wars.


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