The most dramatic (and covered) District Leader race revealed another plot twist this week.
On Thursday, September 13th, 12,000 voters (more than the number who voted in our State Senate race) cast their ballots for either incumbent Lincoln Restler or his challenger Chris Olechowski. When the count came in, it appeared that Olechowski had won by a 136 vote margin.
A week later when the paper ballots were tallied, it was Restler who claimed victory, by 53 votes. But not so fast! Just a day later, the candidates were informed by the Board of Elections, that two memory sticks from the same scanning machine had yielded different results. Olechowski now leads by a margin of 31.
Up next, a State-mandated hand recount to finally determine a winner, with results expected by by the middle of next week.
As if all this weren’t enough excitement for North Brooklyn’s political watchers, Restler claimed nearly 85% of the vote in Greenpoint, the Northside, the Southside, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. He also pulled a large number of votes from one of two large factions of the Hasidic community while Olechowski received significant support from the other. As the recount gets underway, both sides are claiming widespread voter fraud was committed by the other. This means a potential court challenge by the side that comes up short in the recount could delay the announcement of a winner for months.
“We are going to make sure that every single ballot is fairly counted, to make sure we have an outcome that’s accurate,” said Restler. Olechowski agreed, “I just want to clear it up and see who has the most votes.”
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