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Thursday, November 12, 2009

NY23: Was Owens Sworn In Too Soon? Absentee Ballots Keeping Hoffman Victory Within Reach?

On election night, a Hoffman victory looked like it was close but no cigar. After Hoffman conceded, Pelosi wasted no time getting him sworn into office. She needed every vote she could get to ram Pelosicare through. Now that 100% of the polls have reported and all of the absentee ballots are being counted, the race is not just tightening but is turning into a photo finish:

Owens declared victory after Conservative nominee Doug Hoffman conceded the 23rd Congressional District race election night. Now recanvassing shows the special election has narrowed to a 3,000-vote difference, and will be decided by a count of absentee ballots. Washington -- Conservative Doug Hoffman conceded the race in the 23rd Congressional District last week after receiving two pieces of grim news for his campaign: He was down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night, and he had barely won his stronghold in Oswego County.

As it turns out, neither was true.

After all of the missing votes were found and tabulated, here is the current count:

Now a recanvassing in the 11-county district shows that Owens’ lead has narrowed to 3,026 votes over Hoffman, 66,698 to 63,672, according to the latest unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

In Oswego County, where Hoffman was reported to lead by only 500 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted election night, inspectors found Hoffman actually won by 1,748 votes -- 12,748 to 11,000.

The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which about 10,200 were distributed, said John Conklin, communications director for the state Board of Elections.

Out of over 10,000 votes, Hoffman must outnumber the votes that Owens gets by 3,000. It is still a long shot, but it is definitely attainable.

Since most of the ballots were sent in before Dede Scozzofava dropped out, she will play a huge role in the outcome as well. Will she take more away from Owens or Hoffman. Some experts believe that Hoffman would benefit more than Owens, but will it be enough?

I can see why Pelosi rushed him through. She might have know that this might happen and didn't Hoffman taking back his concession before she could get Owens sworn in.

One might wonder how she was able to do this in the first place. Here's how:

"We sent a letter to the clerk laying out the totals," Conklin said. "The key is that Hoffman conceded, which means the race is not contested. However, all ballots will be counted, and if the result changes, Owens will have to be removed."

Would a contested race that would have kept Owens from swearing in kept the healthcare bill from going through? Probably not, it passed with 220 votes two more than they needed. So, one less vote wouldn't killed the bill, but as close as it was, it could have.

These "mistakes" could've had a profound impact on the future of this country. Owens shouldn't have been sworn in until all of the votes were counted. If Pelosi wanted his vote, she should have delayed the vote until all the ballots were counted. What was the rush? Maybe she didn't want to give the public more time to read here almost 2,000 page bill. People would might have found more that they didn't like in the bill, if they were actually given a chance to read it.

The chances of a "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment is slim, but it is still worthwhile to keep an eye on the count. It could give Hoffman momentum that he would need to try again in November 2010.

Now, this comment by Owens' spokesman had nothing substantial to add, but it was just a brilliant non-answer that I had to add it:

When asked about the tightening race, Owens spokesman Jon Boughtin released a statement without directly addressing the election. "Since being elected, Congressman Owens has remained focused on the issues at hand: working with local leaders to address the Champlain Bridge closure, meeting with commanders at Fort Drum and continuing the work to strengthen Upstate New York," the statement said.


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