Altschuler now leads Bishop by 400 votes

11/05/2010 9:19 PM |

Randy Altschuler

A  recount by the Suffolk County Board of Elections now has Congressman Tim Bishop’s Republican challenger Randy Altschuler pulling ahead by about 400 votes in the race for New York’s 1st Congressional District, according to both camps.
After polls closed Tuesday, the BOE listed Mr. Bishop as having nearly a 3,500 vote lead over Mr. Altschuler. However, a recanvassing of the machines show that Mr. Altschuler now has a slight lead.
The results shifted after the Board of Elections finished downloading the electronic results directly from the new electronic voting machines. Previous results could have been altered through human error, as they were reported from individual polling places.
“This happens,” said Altschuler spokesperson Rob Ryan. “Especially with these new machines.”
Mr. Ryan said an official winner may not be declared until the end of the month. Military ballots are not due until Nov. 24.
Bishop spokesperson Jon Schneider said the congressman would like to see a recount by hand.
“At this point the only way to be sure of the accuracy of the count is to do a full hand recount of all the ballots, ” he said in a telephone interview Saturday. “There is a reason that Suffolk County residents insisted on having a paper backup and these circumstances demand we use it.”
It was a far cry from the tone of the Bishop camp Wednesday, when they all but declared victory.
“”The only people who think this race is ‘too close to call’ are on Randy Altschuler’s payroll,” Mr. Schneider said Wednesday. “Tim Bishop is leading by a solid margin, which will only grow as we count absentee ballots.”
Mr. Ryan said the results now show the Altschuler camp was right all along in its decision to not concede.
“We knew the Bishop team had jumped the gun on claiming victory,” he said.
In a letter to supporters Saturday, Mr. Bishop asked for donations to reach a $25,000 goal by Monday to cover legal expenses. He also asked voters who experienced problems casting their ballots to report those issues.
“The integrity of the electoral process is frankly more important than even the result of this election,” he wrote.
He also asked supporters to volunteer their time during the recount process.
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