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County elections commissioners resign, after NY-22 debacle

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media
State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte with attorneys representing Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney in the 22nd Congressional District race.

Oneida County's elections commissioners are stepping down, after an extremely close election for the 22nd Congressional District revealed significant errors on behalf of the County Board of Elections.

Carolanne Cardone, the Democratic elections commissioner, submitted her resignation on Tuesday, according to the Oneida County Legislature clerk. The Republican elections commissioner, Rose Grimaldi, is expected to submit her resignation Wednesday.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to remove the elections commissioners, last week, saying “the way the 2020 election was run in Oneida County was an abject failure.”

“Voters were disenfranchised,” Picente said in a letter to Cuomo. “The outcome of a congressional race was held in limbo for over three months, leaving this county and district without federal representation while we fight a global pandemic.”

When asked on Tuesday about filling the elections commissioners’ positions once they’re vacated, Picente said he’s been in discussions with the state Board of Elections about what happens next.

“It’s not an easy fix to put someone in there immediately,” Picente said. “We will be working with the state Board and locally to determine what our next steps will be.”

The 22nd Congressional District race between Democrat Anthony Brindisi and Republican Claudia Tenney was tied up in court for three months, as State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte ruled on ballot challenges and vote tabulations.

During the proceedings, it was discovered that the Oneida County Board of Elections failed to process more than 2,400 voter registration applications that were filed on time through the state DMV website. DelConte said those people were registered and entitled to vote and ordered the Board to review more than 1,000 affidavit ballots it rejected.

Earlier this month, DelConte ruled that Tenney defeated Brindisi by just 109 votes. 

Tom Magnarelli is a freelance reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area.
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