Katz Declared Winner of Queens DA Primary, But Is The Race Over?

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This past Monday, July 29, after a bitter 34-day Democratic primary election battle for Queens District Attorney, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was declared the winner with a slim margin of 60 votes over her opponent, Tiffany Cabán. However, Cabán is not taking a defeat sitting down, and on Wednesday, July 31, both camps were in court disputing over whether 114 affidavit votes were from registered Democrats, who failed to mark their affiliation. This is the cliff hanger that Cabán hopes will usher in her victory.

In a press release on Monday, Katz declared: “This is a great day for the people of Queens, who have waited patiently for the long recount process to conclude. Today, the Board of Elections (BOE) certified that we have won the campaign for the Democratic primary for Queens D.A. I am grateful to the Board, and particularly to the dozens of BOE employees who undertook the painstaking work of evaluating each of the over 90,000 votes cast in the primary. I am especially grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who supported our campaign throughout this process.”

However, Cabán’s attorney disputed Katz's victory with the following statement: “Our campaign is seeking to restore affidavit ballots and Cabán votes that were wrongly invalidated by the BOE. The BOE and the Katz campaign are standing together to oppose our efforts to open and count ballots cast by eligible voters. If all valid ballots cast eligible and registered voters, as they should be under the law, then Tiffany Cabán will ultimately emerge as the Democratic nominee for D.A.”

After the first day of court, NBC’s Andrew Siff commented on Twitter: “#Katz lawyer, highly animated in court. Mocking the #Cabán case. They watched 90,540 votes! Counted by hand! They objected to 30. Where’s the story on that? BOE says judge should end the ballot challenge case and end the election. The board is at a loss as to what petitioner Cabán is complaining about.”

According to a July 30 article by City & State NY, “it all comes down to how narrowly the courts will validate affidavit ballots. About 2,800 affidavit ballots were cast in the election. The DOE deemed about 2,300 of these to be invalid. To win, Cabán needs the courts to reinstate at least 61 out of the 114 dispute affidavits—assuming the vote was cast for her, which is still unknown—to make up her current deficit."

After a heated hearing in Queens Supreme Court between both candidate’s attorneys on July 31, the challenge will continue. On Tuesday, August 6, Judge John Ingram will review 28 of the 114 affidavit ballots that weren’t counted because voters did not mark their political party.

“The Cabán camp is doing everything they can to turn the electoral process upside down to change the results of the primary,” Katz advisor Matthew Rey said.

However, Katz is resolute that she is the winner. In her statement of victory, she said, “While it is everyone’s right to avail themselves of the judicial process, I urge all participants in this hard-fought election to come together and join me in beginning the hard work of reforming the criminal justice system in Queens. This is a major moment for this borough, and it will take the support of all its residents to make this effort a success. I will be spending the months ahead preparing for this critical task.”

Keep reading The Rockaway Times for updates as the drama unfolds.

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