Democrats are accusing Republicans of discriminating against minority voters during the recount in Queens where Republican State Senator Frank Padavan leads his Democratic challenger, Jim Gennaro, by 500 votes.
Friday, members of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus in the state legislature will travel to the Board of Elections office in Queens in order to oversee the recounting.
A spokesman for the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, Austin Shafran, emailed me to spell out the objections:
After the recanvassing of the voting machines, which brought Padavan's lead down from approximately 700 votes to approximately 500 votes, the lead attorney for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, John Ciampoli began systematically challenging the ballots of certain voters, particularly Asian American and Latino voters. At the same time, the Republicans have refused to challenge identical ballots cast by non-minority voters. The Republican Clerk, Katherine James initially rules in favor of counting the ballots, but then reversed herself and rules that the ballots should not be counted. The ruling was appealed to the 2 commissioners present, who split on party lines.
The Republican Commissioner, Judith Stupp was advised to contact the General Counsel for the BOE for guidance, but she refused and indicated the only attorney she'd speak to for legal advice on the matter was John Ciampoli. In addition to serving on the BOE, Stupp earns $74,000 annually as the Downstate Operations Manager for the Senate Republican Conference. She also dontade money to the SRCC, Frank Padavan's re-election campaign committee and was reimbursed by Padavan's campaign committee for $362 in expenses.
Here's a link to Stupp's reimbursements from the Padavan campaign.