Wednesday, September 16, 2015

[UPDATED] Boose wants expanded audit of votes in Northwest City Council race

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 5:34 PM

UPDATE #2: A judge has dismissed Boose's complaint.

UPDATE: The lawsuit was filed on Thursday, September 17.


Don't put the Northwest City Council race to bed just yet. Legal paperwork that should be filed in State Supreme Court sometime this week asks for an expanded audit of the voting machines used in the race between Molly Clifford and LaShana Boose. 

Unofficial results from the September 10 Democratic primary election showed Clifford besting Boose by 42 votes. Clifford's lead jumped to 66 votes after most of the absentee ballots were counted. There are still some outstanding ballots, but not enough to change the outcome of the race, according to the Monroe County Board of Elections. 

But Boose's petition says that "the discrepancy between the 42-vote lead on September 10, 2015, and the 66-vote lead on September 14, 2015, justifies an expanded audit." 

Tom Ferrarese, Democratic commissioner for the Board of Elections, says that the petition is baseless. 

"I've never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life," he says. "The machine count was 42. When you take in the absentee ballots that were counted that night, it went to 66. There's no discrepancy. It's been on the [Board of Elections] website since day one." 

The commissioners hand-count all of the ballots in 3 percent of the machines after the election, Ferrarese says, to make sure that the machines counted correctly. (The machines are chosen randomly.) And they were fine, he says. 

But the Boose camp wants more of the machines audited. 

"I'm just absolutely appalled," Ferrarese says. "We're being as transparent as [we can] possibly be. They're off in another world." 

Clifford, in a brief phone interview, said that she didn't know about the pending legal action. 

The Clifford-Boose race was probably the most symbolic of the great rift currently within the Monroe County Democratic Party. Clifford, the endorsed candidate, is a longtime Democratic operator who helped run an insurgent campaign to keep former mayor Tom Richards after Richards lost the 2013 primary to then City Council president Lovely Warren. The Warren camp, upset because the party did not unite behind her after the primary, reportedly recruited and backed candidates to challenge people that they didn't want in office, including Clifford. 

The race did not have an incumbent. Current Northwest District representative Carla Palumbo is not seeking re-election. 

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