State of New York

New York 50th State Senate District Ballot Counting Challenge (Shiroff)

Shiroff v. New York State Board of Elections

Lawsuit filed by Republican state Senate candidate Rebecca Shiroff against the New York State Board of Elections, the Oswego County Board of Elections, the Onondaga County Board of Elections and the Democratic candidate, the current incumbent state Sen. John Mannion. The petitioner requests a court order to preserve “unopened and/or non-scanned ballots including emergency ballots, absentee ballots, applications for absentee ballots, special ballots and applications for such ballots, affidavit ballots and envelopes containing such ballots, special ballots and military ballots, machine breakdown reports, mechanic or custodian logs, election day affidavits, election day court orders, poll books (printed or electronic), ballot stubs, spoiled ballots, voided or defective ballots, unused ballots and all copies of close of polls reports, all printed and electronic records and vote tallies, for the public office and relative to the public office of State Senator 50th, Senate District.” She adds conspiratorial claims, alleging that “several Voting Machines used in this election were defective, which may result in inaccurate tallies of votes; additionally, there are certainly other irregularities in the election process which may give rise to improper votes being canvassed or the canvass of inaccurate returns.” The petitioner alleges that the results “are very close and cry out for this Court’s attention and supervision.” The petitioner argues that she is harmed by the curing process (which allows voters to fix minor errors on their ballots) and claims that “‘cures” for defective ballot envelopes may adversely affect Petitioner’s rights under the Election law and related laws” and asks the court to “order full disclosure of the ‘cure’ process so as to protect Petitioner’s rights and allow for Court to review board Actions.” The petitioner also requests the preservation of ballots and election materials and a judgment “correcting, adjusting and finalizing the canvass of returns for the General Election for election to the office of Member of New York State Senate.” Lastly, she asks the court to order the “Respondent Board of Elections [to] be temporarily enjoined and restrained from certifying any candidate other than the Petitioner, Rebecca Shiroff, as the candidate duly elected to the office of State Senator 50th State Senate District.” 

On Nov. 10, after initially granting the petitioner’s requested relief, the court vacated (meaning voided) its initial order and ordered the board of elections to “immediately resume casting and canvassing absentee, military, special and affidavit ballots pursuant to the provisions of Election Law.” On Nov. 15, the court denied the petitioner’s renewed motion for requested relief regarding affidavit ballots and ordered the board of elections to “proceed with the scheduled affidavit ballot canvassing in accordance with Election Law.” On Dec. 19, after a hand recount, the judged ordered the election to be certified. Mannion declared victory with a 10 vote lead.

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