Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Rangel Won – Or Did He?

In Election Analysis, House on July 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Rep. Charlie Rangel, (D, NY-13)

As has been projected and reported – and conceded by challenger Adriano Espaillat – 21-term Rep. Charlie Rangel won the Democratic primary for the new 13th Congressional District of New York on primary night, June 26. Now, however, doubts surround the election result.

The New York state Supreme Court held a hearing yesterday to oversee the counting at Espaillat’s request. New vote totals now show the 45-40 percent margin decreasing to 44-42 percent, a spread of just 802 votes. According to state election officials, 2,494 ballots remain to be counted, mostly provisional paper ballots from voters claiming to be registered but who were not on the voting rolls, and 776 absentee ballots. All of the provisional voters must be verified as truly being registered.

Espaillat is too far behind, considering the reported number of ballots remaining, to overtake Rangel. Even if this were a two-way race (there are five total candidates), Espaillat, a sitting New York state senator, would have to tally just over 62.3 percent of the outstanding ballots to make up the 802-vote deficit. Unless there are more ballots to count – and on election night itself when Rangel had been declared the winner, a full 15 percent of the NY-13 precincts were reporting zero votes tabulated – there is no likely mathematical progression that allows such a conclusion from what we now know. But, many things can happen in post-election counting of close results.

In the end, it is probable that Rep. Rangel will be declared the official winner, but such a happening could be weeks away if a full investigation is launched. An official pronouncement of the exact uncounted vote number is expected on Thursday.

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