Maloney declared winner over challenger after ballot disaster disenfranchises thousands

The federal government should protect Jewish cemeteries from anti-Semitic vandalism, Rep. Carolyn Maloney said on March 6, 2017. Above, Maloney, right, New York Board of Rabbis Executive Vice President Joseph Potasnik, left, and others, hold a news conference to condemn the recent wave of anti-Semitic sentiment and actions.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. (File photo)

Six weeks after the June 23 primary – and after 12,000 absentee ballots in the district were discarded due postmark issues – the New York City Board of Elections has certified incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as the winner.

Holding a lead over insurgent progressive, Suraj Patel, of 3,700 votes, up to 1,200 discarded absentee ballots were ordered to be restored by a federal judge on Monday. The BOE declared Maloney the victor later Tuesday evening.

“I’m thrilled the voters of NY-12 have decided to return me to Congress for another term, with a decisive winning margin that clearly reflects the will of the voters,” Maloney said. “These include increased funding for the post office, an end to measures taken by the President that might impact timely delivery of applications or ballots, and conducting oversight to ensure that voters have faith in the results of their elections.”

In a press conference on Tuesday morning after the injunction on the discarded absentee ballots was declared, Maloney called on her opponent to stand down as the odds were not in Patel’s favor. As the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the BOE to restore these ballots, Patel has argued that to concede would undermine the lawsuit and any future attempts to have other votes redeemed.

Patel’s campaign spokesperson, when contacted by amNewYork Metro, provided a statement from Aug. 3 regarding the board’s decision Tuesday night and confirmed that he had no plans to concede.

“We stand on the side of the voters. This is not a Democratic versus Republican fight, and it is also not an establishment versus progressive fight. This is now a fight to protect the voting rights of millions of Americans in the midst of a global pandemic. We are obligated to not just celebrate our systems of democracy when they work, but to fight to improve and strengthen them when they do not,” the statement read. “If we fail, we are bound to see the mistakes of our Democratic Primary repeated in November’s election, where Donald Trump, an existential threat to our democracy, has already signaled a desire to deny the outcome.”

In the 12th Congressional District alone, about 20% of absentee ballots were tossed by the BOE due to late or missing postmarks, an issue traced back to the U.S. Postal Service. The majority of these were in the Brooklyn and Queens section of Maloney’s sprawling district.

Patel challenged Maloney in 2018 taking 40% of the vote.

Maloney was elected to congress in 1993 and was recently re-elected as chair of the House Oversight Committee.