The remaining races for the U.S. House of Representatives that haven’t been called are mostly in New York state.
The Times Union reported Tuesday that 11 House races were still uncalled by the Associated Press two weeks after Nov. 3. Seven of them are in New York, though one has since been called for Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat, who won reelection Wednesday morning in NY’s 3rd Congressional District.
Another one of those uncalled races is in the 24th Congressional District, but Syracuse Democrat Dana Balter conceded Friday to U.S. Rep. John Katko, acknowledging that she had come up short in a second consecutive bid to unseat the Republican congressman. The AP still has not officially called the race, partly because the absentee ballot count in Onondaga County is on hold until after Thanksgiving because a one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus.
Still, at least eight House races are still too close to call, according to 270towin.com and FiveThirtyEight.com. Half of them are in New York (NY-1, NY-2, NY-18 and NY-22), two are in California (CA-21, CA-25), and one each are in Iowa (IA-2) and New Jersey (NJ-7).
Democrats have already secured a House majority with 220 seats to the GOP’s 207, but what’s taking so long to decide all the races? And why are so many of them in New York?
Part of the delay is due to the Empire State’s elections system, which allows each of its 62 counties to decide when it’s time to start counting absentee ballots. Wayne County, which is part of the NY-24 district, didn’t even start until Monday, Nov. 16.
New York has no regulated start date for counting absentee ballots, according to the state’s Board of Elections, though each county must report its election results by Nov. 28.
The Times Union notes Nov. 6 was also the earliest any county could start counting absentee ballots, as the state requires comparing all affidavit and absentee ballots to ensure no one attempted to vote twice. The law also allowed ballots to be counted if they were received up to Nov. 10 and up to Nov. 16 for military and overseas ballots, if they were post-marked by election day.
And due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are a record number of mail-in ballots this year. Hundreds of thousands remain uncounted.
One of the closest remaining races in the 22nd District, where former Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney leads U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, by 3,576 votes. Tenney led by more than 28,000 votes on Election Day, but absentee ballots narrowed the margin to 1.2 percentage points. With 9,033 uncounted ballots remaining as of Tuesday night, the race still hasn’t been called.
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