Queens Borough President Melinda Katz proved that she is tough to beat. The primary results, however, are still inconclusive.
More than 85,000 votes were counted electronically in the June 25th primary for Queens District attorney election to replace longtime DA Richard Brown, who recently passed. Last week, after the initial count, 31-year-old Tiffany Cabán, held the lead. The progressive public defender declared victory over the six democratic candidates who competed, earning 39.6 percent of the votes. Katz came in close with 38.3 percent of the votes, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Katz, formerly a NYC councilwoman, refused to concede to defeat, saying that there were still absentee ballots that had not yet been accounted for. Cabán’s lead stood at 1.3 percentage points, which is above the 0.5-point threshold that would require a recount. Still, she pointed out that there were roughly 3,400 absentee ballots still being counted, and that as per the Board of Elections would not be officially tallied until Wednesday.
Katz stunned the city, amassing a hefty percentage of the absentee votes to make up for the 1,090-vote lead Cabán held over her. Astonishingly, Katz must have won over two-thirds of the mailed and signed votes. After a count of absentee and affidavit votes, Katz now leads by a mere 20 votes. “Every vote was counted and every voice was heard,” Katz tweeted on Wednesday July 3rd. “I’m honored to be the Democratic nominee for Queens District Attorney.”
As reported by Crain’s NY, the extremely small margin, however, will trigger an automatic recount. The recount can take weeks, as ballots will now be examined one by one manually. Caban and her team are still confident in the outcome. Cabán’s backers have said that they will request the courts to reconsider some of the 2,781 invalidated affidavit votes. An affidavit ballot is a paper ballot filled out by a voter whose name was not properly registered at polling site they went to.
“More than 100 affidavit ballots from registered and eligible Democrats were wrongly invalidated by the BOE — and we will be in court Tuesday morning to make sure these voters are not disenfranchised,” said Cabán’s Spokesperson Monica Klein, on Monday. The statement referred to 114 affidavit ballots that were invalidated because the voters did not complete the space for “party enrollment” on the form. Last week, the Board of Elections admitted 487 of the affidavit ballots, as per the Queens Eagle.
“Queens voters are inspired by @CabanForQueens’ campaign and her vision for real criminal justice reform,” tweeted Klein. “If every valid paper ballot vote is counted, we are confident we will prevail.”