Only 17 votes now separate District 20 Democratic contender Scott Murphy from Republican Jim Tedisco, based on new vote totals released by the New York State Board of Elections late Tuesday that show Tedisco still clinging to a narrow lead.
The official count in the 20th District congressional race now stands at 77,034 votes for Tedisco with 77,017 votes for Murphy.
The latest vote tally comes just one day before counties in District 20 begin counting the all-important absentee ballots, which are ultimately expected to decide the election.
The lead in the race has changed hands several times during the canvassing process, which compares the counts recorded on election machines with the vote totals the precincts called in on Election Day.
Tuesday’s revised vote total stemmed from canvassing adjustments submitted to the Board from Washington County. Also, Saratoga County officials called in a correction to Monday’s canvassing report. That correction added 100 votes to Tedisco’s total.
Combining those two counties’ adjustments resulted in Democrat Murphy gaining 80 votes.
Also Tuesday, Columbia County officials reported that they have completed their vote canvassing, which resulted in no changes to the numbers called in on Election Day.
That means only two of the District’s 10 counties have not yet reported their revised canvassing results: Essex and Greene. Those updates are expected any day, State Board of Elections officials tell Newsmax.
The big unknown in the much-touted District 20 contest, which has been described as a bellwether test of voter reaction to President Obama’s economic policies, are the more than 6,700 absentee ballots that have not yet been counted.
On Monday, a New York court ruled that the counties must begin the counting of those ballots by Wednesday.
That order does not include military and international ballots, which continue to trickle in from overseas. April 13 is the deadline for receipt of military and international absentee ballots – which, like other absentee ballots, must be postmarked by the day before the election, March 30, in order to be valid.
So far, just under 400 military and other absentee votes from abroad have been received, according to information from the State Board of Elections. Those votes are expected to favor Tedisco, election observers say.
Board officials tell Newsmax that the incoming flow of overseas ballots has waned, with just a handful of new ones being received each day.
Insiders who closely follow Empire State politics say the Tedisco-Murphy race is shaping up as one of the closest major elections in New York’s modern history.
Both sides in the contest are gearing up for a protracted battle to determine who won the election. An April 13 hearing will determine the schedule for opening military and other overseas absentee ballots.
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