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Queens district attorney primary certified by Board of Elections, legal challenge moves ahead

Melinda Katz declared victory in the Queens district

Melinda Katz declared victory in the Queens district attorney primary on Monday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Borough President Melinda Katz was declared the winner of the close Queens district attorney Democratic primary Monday, as a legal challenge on dozens of disqualified votes moved forward.

The Board of Elections certified the results of the June 25 primary at a brief meeting Monday afternoon at its offices in lower Manhattan, days after the completion of a manual recount that put Katz ahead of public defender Tiffany Cabán by 60 votes.

The breakdown of the roughly 91,000 ballots was posted to the BOE website Monday afternoon.

“This is a great day for the people of Queens, who have waited patiently for the long recount process to conclude,” Katz said in a statement Monday. She thanked supporters and volunteers at a party in Forest Hills Monday evening.

But Cabán’s team was set to move forward with a legal challenge on more than 100 ballots it says were wrongly invalidated by the BOE. The contested ballots include affidavit ballots cast by voters at the wrong polling sites and affidavits that didn’t have the word “Democrat” written on them. 

“Legal precedent established several years ago by The Appellate Division, Second Department indicates that these minor, clerical errors are insufficient grounds to invalidate otherwise eligible votes,” Cabán campaign attorney Jerry Goldfeder said in a statement Monday. 

A court date for the legal challenge was set for Wednesday, a Cabán campaign representative said. It wasn’t immediately clear if legal arguments would begin Wednesday or at a later date.

“While it is everyone’s right to avail themselves of the judicial process, I urge all participants in this hard-fought election to come together and join me in beginning the hard work of reforming the criminal justice system in Queens,” Katz said. “This is a major moment for this borough, and it will take the support of all its residents to make this effort a success. I will be spending the months ahead preparing for this critical task.”

The BOE will be in court “to say that we did not advocate a position,” Executive Director Michael Ryan said after the meeting Monday.

“I’m not going to get into the specifics of what was counted or not counted,” he said. “Those rulings are now the subject of litigation.”

With Li Yakira Cohen

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