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New York county finds 55 uncounted early votes

A New York county reported on Tuesday that 55 early voting ballots had been discovered, potentially changing the outcome of a congressional race separated by only 12 votes.

The Chenango County Attorney’s office wrote to Judge Scott J. DelConte that the county’s board of election commissioners had discovered 55 early voting ballots, 44 of which are countable; the other 11 apparently belonged to people who were not registered to vote.

“Those ballots were apparently mislaid and never counted,” wrote county attorney Alan Gordon. “I am looking for direction from the Court on how to proceed with the canvassing of these additional ballots.”

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According to WBNG reporter Josh Rosenblatt, these votes have the potential to keep Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) in office as representative for New York’s 22nd district, or give the election to Republican challenger Claudia Tenney.

If the ballots are permitted to be counted and they reverse the outcome of the election, it would be another blow to House Democrats who, despite maintaining their majority, lost about a dozen seats to Republicans.

The race has been extremely close, with both candidates claiming a lead within the past week. Initial, unofficial results showed Tenney winning the election, however Brindisi appeared to surpass her last week. On Monday, Tenney's campaign said she had taken a 25 vote lead after a "tabulation error" had been corrected.

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Syracuse.com noted that these small leads ultimately mean little as 2,000 absentee and affidavit votes remain to be counted. The New York Supreme Court is expected to rule on challenges that have been made against these ballots this week.

Carol Franklin, Chenango County Elections Commissioner, told Syracuse.com she had no idea why the votes weren't counted.

“My guess is they came in early and they were put aside and mislaid,” said Franklin. "I would hope that we could open them tomorrow with representatives present from each campaign.”