Utica, N.Y. - The opening and counting of the thousands of absentee ballots that have come in in the 22nd Congressional District will begin on Tuesday.
Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol says his office is involved in the counting process, at least here in Oneida County, and he believes the whole process could take days, "Obviously this is something that’s going to take more than one day, more than likely it’s going to take several days."
Maciol says he was contacted on Friday by New York State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McRae here in Oneida County, as were the sheriffs in the other seven counties that make up the 22nd Congressional District, to impound all ballots and digital recording devices from the voting booths.
Maciol says nothing had to be done in Oneida County because he says the process that takes place following the closing of the polls on election night which is set up between his office and the Oneida County Board of Elections does exactly what the court order to impound the ballots says to do anyway. He says the election items are all locked up in a room inside the Oneida County Board of Elections, "Everything was locked up, and it’s bipartisan entry, so obviously the commissioners of both the Democratic and Republican parties will be accessing the room at the same time, along with the sheriffs office. No entry can be made into or out of that office without the sheriffs office present. We have a third key to get into that office so basically it’s under the control of the sheriff as the order states."
22nd Congressional District candidate Anthony Brindisi, who leads incumbent Rep. Claudia Tenney by 1,293 votes, requested the ballots in the race be impounded, and State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McRae here in Oneida County granted that request on Friday.
Sheriff Maciol says he along with the sheriffs in the other seven counties that make up the 22nd congressional district were ordered on Friday to impound not only the absentee ballots that came in, but all ballots that were cast as well as the memory sticks from each voting booth.
Rep. Tenney's campaign released a statement following Brindisi's request on Friday. Tenney Campaign Manager Raychel Renna said, "Anthony Brindisi is a desperate Albany machine politician who is watching his lead erode. Instead of letting the process play out to ensure votes are counted fairly as Claudia Tenney has done, Brindisi is turning to lawyers and intimidation to attempt to disqualify votes which are not for him. What does Brindisi have to hide? Why is Brindisi trying to prevent votes from being counted? We will protect the integrity of this process and fight Brindisi's underhanded attempts to disenfranchise thousands of voters and potentially steal an election."
Today, Brindisi's Campaign Manager Ellen Foster released a statement saying, "Every single person in the district who voted last week deserves to have their voice heard. As the vote counting process begins this week, we'll have a team of dedicated volunteers making sure that every vote is counted and the process runs smoothly and fairly. People of this district want change, they want a representative who works for them. And after all the votes are in, we're confident that Anthony Brindisi will be the next representative of the 22nd district."