Court of Appeals to Hear Election Recount Arguments

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Lerner

December 20, 2010


Court of Appeals to Hear Election Recount Arguments Today

Decision Likely to Have Momentous Impact on NY Elections

The Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in Albany on the morning of Monday, December 20th in a pair of related election proceedings, Matter of Johnson v Martins and Matter of Jacobs v Nassau County Board of Elections, arising from the November 2 election for the office of State Senator for the 7th Senatorial District. Craig M. Johnson, the Democratic incumbent, and Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, are appealing an order and decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department that denied their petitions for a manual recount of paper ballots. On December 6, Supreme Court certified Republican Jack M. Martins as the winner of the election by 451 votes.

Government watchdog Common Cause New York issued the following statement before the argument:

“The purpose of our election laws is to insure that elections are carried out honestly and that all votes properly cast are accurately counted. This case presents the Court of Appeals with the opportunity to honor the intent of our election laws and safeguard the integrity and security of New York’s new voting system by overturning the lower court decisions and ordering a manual recount. The advantage of using paper ballots, as New York’s new voting system does, is that voters do not have to rely exclusively on computerized voting machines to count their votes. Counting the paper ballots by hand – as permitted under New York law – eliminates any concern regarding machine error and assures New Yorkers that the election has been fairly and faithfully determined. In SD7 the close margin and voting system errors detected in the post-election audit necessitate a manual vote count as the only way to accurately and unmistakably determine the will of the voters. There is still time to conduct a manual recount. We hope that the Court of Appeals, in hearing argument today, will keep the interest of the voters in insuring an accurate count paramount and not allow expediency or candidates’ desire for a speedy outcome to override that interest.”