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Judge rules BOE must count some disqualified ballots, win for Patel camp in Maloney race

Woman filling out a ballot
Posted at 9:43 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 13:52:25-04

NEW YORK — A judge has ordered all local boards of election in New York state to count certain absentee ballots that had been thrown out, a win in particular for the Suraj Patel campaign in New York City.

In the ruling, ballots received on June 24 are to be counted, regardless of whether or not they were postmarked by June 23; ballots received on June 25 are also ordered to be counted, as long as they are postmarked no later than June 23. The ballots must be considered otherwise valid, according to the ruling.

The New York primaries took place on June 23 at physical polling locations, though thousands of New Yorkers opted for absentee ballots allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But due to issues stemming from the larger-than-normal absentee population, ballots were sent to voters late in the process — in some cases on June 22 — or completed ballots were postmarked late even if they were mailed by voters on time.

The race most notably impacted by the ruling Monday was New York's 12th Congressional District, where 12,000 ballots were disqualified, primarily because of postmark problems.

Patel, who is taking on incumbent Carolyn Maloney, sued over the decision to toss the ballots; Monday's ruling is considered at least a partial win for his camp.

One of his attorneys tweeted the news Monday saying "WE WON."

The former Obama staffer has been frustrated by the state’s inability to adapt to a mostly mail-in election, which has created issues that have allowed President Trump to make a case against mail in voting.

Patel said his lawsuit is about getting more votes counted, and it’s about disenfranchisement, not fraud.

Henry Rosoff contributed.