Patel refuses to concede as Maloney’s lead grows by 3,700 votes in contested congressional race

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (l.) and her Democratic primary challenger Suraj Patel. (Photos by Mark Hallum)

It seems as though Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s streak of representing the 12th district since 1993 will continue after extending her lead over insurgent Democrat Suraj Patel by 3,700 votes.

Patel, who challenged Maloney in the 2018 primary as well, walked away last time with 40% of the vote but will not be closing such a gap this time around as after June 23 the absentee ballot count continues. Maloney’s lead this time is only about 4%, but Patel’s campaign says they are not ready to concede.

“The Congresswoman is delighted, now that the Board of Elections has finished their preliminary scans of absentee ballots, to have a decisive winning margin of over 3,700 votes,” a statement from Maloney said. “Both she and the campaign are thankful and appreciative of all our volunteers and supporters, whose hard work and perseverance have made this possible.”

Patel has struggled against the system over the course of the month-long canvas of votes. In mid-July, it was observed by both candidates that up to 20% of absentee ballots were discarded by the city Board of Elections over missing or late postmarks in compliance with state law.

“Today, six weeks [after the primary] — and with more than 12,000 ballots rejected in our single district alone — the Board of Elections’ initial count of the record 95,000 votes in our race has been completed, and while no candidate secured a majority, we accept the result that has the incumbent ahead by less than 4%,” Patel said. “Unfortunately, in ours, thousands of voters never received their ballots, and for those who returned their ballots by mail, nearly 25% were rejected. This is not just slightly above the norm compared with other states. It’s 100 times the rejection rate of Wisconsin.”

As a result, Patel’s campaign, alongside Maloney’s, aimed to take the Cuomo administration to court for voter disenfranchisement claiming that voters have no control over whether or not their ballot is postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service. The Patel campaign observed that many of those missing postmarks had arrived at the BOE on June 24, the day after the cutoff.

For Patel to concede now, a campaign spokesperson argued, would only undermine their effort to have some of the 12,000 invalidated ballots redeemed as they represent three times the margin of Maloney’s current lead.

Patel’s additional statements went along the lines of others who observed the policies that led to so many ballots being deemed invalid: that the dysfunctional results of mail-in voting in New York is a black mark on the practice and will negatively impact the November presidential elections.