One of the biggest question marks hanging over an insanely close March 20th special election to the State Senate in southeastern Brooklyn was 100+ absentee ballots the Democratic candidate, Lew Fidler, alleged to have been collected fraudulently. Today, however, the judge overseeing the case ruled in favor of the Republican candidate David Storobin, who very well may now enter the automatic hand recount with a slight lead rather than the 87 vote deficit he ended last week with.
“However, based on the testimony of these witnesses, it cannot be said that [Storobin's campaign staffer] Ms. Pometko engaged in any fraudulent conduct,” the judge said in his ruling. “There was no evidence that she coerced or induced any of the witnesses to falsely apply for an absentee ballot. Nor was there evidence presented that Ms. Pometko made any false representations or threats to these voters in her efforts to procure an absentee ballot on their behalf.”
And, in what’s most important for Mr. Storobin, the judge ordered all of the allegedly fraudulent ballots to be counted.
“Accordingly, the petition is denied and the Board of Elections is hereby ORDERED to cast and canvass all of the 119 absentee ballots at issue in this trial,” the ruling concluded.
Mr. Fidler could appeal this ruling, and the legal process here may very well be far from being immediately over, but Mr. Storobin’s team is undoubtedly very happy with today’s news.
The inevitable hand recount just got that much more suspenseful.
View the ruling below:
Fidler v Storobin -Fraud Trial -Signed Order