Leading by 3,000 votes, Collins in 'very significant position'

November 07, 2018 06:41 PM

There is a demand to make sure every single vote is counted in the race between Republican Congressman Chris Collins and his challenger Democrat Nate McMurray. 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean learned how this process works and if this election can go the other way.


By law, the Boards of Elections in each county certify the voting machines. And they make the results official by Thanksgiving.

But here's the thing. There are still roughly 10,000 absentee ballots in the 27th Congressional District that have to be counted.

Chris Grant, Collins' campaign advisor: "Last night's results were close but they were decisive."

Chris Grant is Chris Collins' campaign advisor.

The difference between Collins and McMurray is approximately 3,000 votes.

So here's what happens now.

Every county in the 27th District - including Monroe, Ontario, Livingston and Genesee - have to collect and count every absentee ballot.

Many of the ballots were filled out and returned by Election Day. But as long as they are post marked prior to Wednesday Nov.7, the absentee ballots can arrive as late as next Tuesday.

Some counties won't start counting until then.

There are roughly 10,000 ballots.

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "Are you concerned that those will change the result?"

Grant: "No sir."

Four years ago, former Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini was several hundred votes behind the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

It took more than a week to count the absentee votes.

Mark Assini: "It ended with a call from Board of Elections saying we've counted the absentees, you're about 860 votes short."

News10NBC tracked down an expert on elections in New York state, attorney Jim Walsh from Albany.

Brean: "Does recount mean that they go back and count all 300,000 plus that were cast?" 

James Walsh, attorney: "No. There is a procedure in the election law. There's an audit."

Walsh says they audit three percent of voting machines and if they match the vote total on paper, the election is good.

Brean: "The difference right now between Chris Collins and Nate McMurray is approximately 3,000 votes. In your experience what does that tell you?" 

Walsh: "That tells me the person with the 3,000-vote lead is in a very significant position. That's an awful lot of votes to have to try to overcome. I have not seen that type of lead go away as you go and re-canvas." 

Chris Collins wasn't here Wednesday because they said this is a campaign issue. He is expected to talk to reporters on Thursday.


Berkeley Brean

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