Espaillat goes to court over flawed election
By Adam Wisnieski
One week after Rep. Charles Rangel declared victory over state Sen. Adriano Espaillat for Congressional District 13, the outcome still hangs in the balance.
Results are still not official and the pitched battle over who will represent upper Manhattan and a sizable chunk of the Northwest Bronx has spun out of control and into a courtroom.
Though Mr. Rangel declared victory and Mr. Espaillat offered his concession hours after polls closed on June 26, complications at the city’s Board of Elections have since cast major doubt over the results. The more than 4,000 residents of Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Van Cortlandt Village, Bedford Park, Norwood and University Heights who, according to the unofficial tally, cast votes last week, remain unsure of which candidate won the Democratic primary and will likely represent them in Congress.
The most complete total as of press time, which does not include 3,174 affidavit ballots and an undetermined number of absentee ballots, has Mr. Rangel leading Mr. Espaillat by 802 votes. Though it seems unlikely Mr. Espaillat would gain enough ground after the affidavit and absentee ballots are counted on Thursday, July 5, Mr. Espaillat has questioned the validity of the entire election and filed a lawsuit against the BOE.
On Monday, Mr. Espaillat, who currently represents parts of Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil in the state Senate, blasted the Board of Elections in Washington Heights.
“The Board of Elections is broken. We should just shut it down and build a new system,” he said, echoing recent comments made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called the BOE’s system “easily corruptible.”
When Mr. Rangel declared victory outside Sylvia’s in Harlem Tuesday night, he had a commanding 50.1 percent lead over Mr. Espaillat, at 33.4 percent, with 70 percent of precincts reporting.
News outlets called Mr. Rangel the victor and the two leading candidates acted accordingly.
KeywordsAdam Wisnieski, Adriano Espaillat, Charles Rangel, Board of Elections, Congressional District 13, Moises Perez, Ydanis Rodriguez