As votes are being counted in the race for New York’s 27th Congressional District, the Erie County Board of Elections is explaining why up to 600 voters received multiple ballots.
Federal rules required military absentee ballots be sent out 45 days prior to the election. At the time, however, the full slate of statewide candidates was not yet finalized due to judicial conventions.
Additionally, there was a late change in the gubernatorial ballot when the Working Families Party dropped Cynthia Nixon as its designee and replaced her with Governor Andrew Cuomo on their line.
As a result some people received up to three different ballots.
While some of those voters did return multiple ballots, they were presorted to only count once, BoE officials confirm. If voters did not send in the final ballot they received but, instead, sent in an earlier version, that vote will still be counted.
Any votes cast for candidates not on the final state ballot will not be counted, but the rest of the votes on the ballot will be affirmed.
Democrat Nate McMurray continues to trail incumbent Republican Chris Collins but has not conceded the race. As several of the eight counties within the district have already counted their paper ballots, which also include affidavits and emergency ballots, the lead has narrowed to roughly 2,400 votes. Erie County represents by far the most votes yet to be counted.
Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner tweeted around noon Monday there were 5,588 absentees returned, 1,454 affidavits received and 423 emergency ballots. So far, out of the 1,454 affidavits, 941 have been deemed valid, meaning the Board of Elections is counting roughly 7,000 votes in this district Tuesday.
If those numbers hold up, McMurray will likely have to do exceptionally well, collecting much more than 60 percent of those votes to make up the difference.
The candidate has remained confident, given the fact he has done better with absentees than he did during the general so far, and won Erie County outright on election night. If the final count falls within a percentage point, some believe the ballots could potentially be the subject of litigation.