36th District City Council Race Cornegy, Foy remain locked in battle to succeed Al Vann in City Council
Board of Elections still hasn’t counted 1,000 ballots eight days after election
By Stephen Witt
After eight days and more jockeying for position than on the backstretch of the Kentucky Derby, the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary election to succeed term-limited Al Vann and represent the residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant and parts of Crown Heights was still up in the air at press time.
Complicating the situation was the very uncommunicative and disorganized job that the City’s Board of Elections (BOE) did for the primary including the use of antiquated voting machines – a number of which were not in working order – having only one press spokesperson for the largest municipal election in the country and with an inability to correctly tabulate thousands of paper and absentee ballots in a timely and efficient manner.
At press time, Robert Cornegy appears to be clinging to a narrow lead of less than 90 votes or more than 140 votes over Kirsten John Foy depending on figures put out by both campaigns and the BOE. In the unofficial tally on election night, Cornegy had a 94 vote lead over Foy in the five-person race.
In total, there were about 14,000 votes cast that were counted with about 1,000 absentee and paper ballots that remain uncounted at press time.
Ironically, the outcome of the election is between a longtime Bed-Stuy political insider and a candidate that has benefitted greatly from hundreds of thousands of dollars and campaign workers that come from outside the district.
Cornegy has the strong support of both Vann and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson and as the Democratic District Leader hires poll workers.
Conversely, Foy’s campaign hasn’t ruled out legal action should he come up a little short in the vote count. In the legal arena, Foy has the advantage because he is backed by the powerful and deep-pocketed Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), which could well afford a costly and protracted court battle.
And judging from Foy team comments, there are appearances that the election might ultimately be decided by the courts.
“From finding new voting machines days after the re-canvassing of the machines, giving inaccurate results to the media, and even losing Kirsten and his wife’s paper ballots twice, we’ve been disappointed with the competence, transparency and objectivity of this vote-counting process,” said Tyquana Henderson-Parsons, campaign manager for Kirsten John Foy’s campaign.
“The integrity of the vote is vital to the foundation of our democracy, given so many had to fight for the right in this country – ballots should not be misplaced or thrown out based on political considerations. An accurate total count is unclear to us at this point because the board has put out so many different numbers, which in several instances conflict with the voting machines. While the margin has been narrowing with the counting of more votes, we are focused on making sure no one has their vote arbitrarily discarded, including Kirsten’s and his wife’s, which the board has shown little intention of counting,” she added.
Cornegy responded via text at press time that the vote is still being counted and that he is ahead in the count.