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Bronx congressman sues NYC, Westchester BOE amid primary recount

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) arrives to hear testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland behind closed-doors, as part of the impeachment inquiry led by the House Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs and House Oversight and Reform Committees in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. (REUTERS/Erin Scott)

Trailing an estimated 10,000 votes behind political newcomer Jamaal Bowman, incumbent congressman Eliot Engel has sued both New York City and Westchester County’s Board of Elections during a recount that could take weeks to resolve.

That lawsuit is meant to entail “the court to rule on the validity of the casting or canvassing, or refusal to cast or canvass, any such ballots,” in efforts to modify the anticipated result of the ongoing recount, which began yesterday at the headquarters on the Bronx’s Grand Concourse.

Ballots being recounted an NYC BOE facility in the Bronx on Wednesday, July 8. (Alex Mitchell)

“We recognize that Mr. Bowman’s preliminary lead is substantial, but when the outstanding ballots are well more than three times that margin, it is also clear that primary voters deserve a clear and accurate count (with ballots in question examined fairly by each campaign), however long that requires,” stated a representative from Engel’s campaign.

That campaign also stated that there are a total 40,000 outstanding ballots between the split district of the Bronx and Westchester.

In response, Bowman’s campaign manager Luke Hayes stated “Eliot Engel’s unnecessary lawsuit would not only further delay the results for our district, but could also wind up disenfranchising voters.”

Hayes added, “We’re not going to stand by and let that happen, which is why we built a legal team to take on these challenges and make sure every single vote is counted.”

Jamaal Bowman greets Co-op City residents after appearing to win the primary. (Photo by Jason Cohen)

As it is, Bowman’s campaign also believes that the massive absentee ballot recount will last until August due to the current COVID-19 situation.

As for Engel, his campaign stated, “we need to make sure we get this mail-in ballot process right, especially ahead of November’s critical presidential election.”

Following election night, unofficial numbers from the NYC BOE showed Bowman leading 15,667 to Engel’s 8,405 votes in the race for New York’s 16th Congressional District.

Bowman declared victory in the primary on June 24.

This story first appeared on bxtimes.com.

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