July 4, 2019 By Christian Murray
Melinda Katz has declared victory in the Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney, following the manual recount on Wednesday of thousands of absentee and affidavit ballots.
The margin of victory over Tiffany Cabán was 20 votes, according to several well-placed sources. The City was the first publication to attribute the razor-thin margin to the Board of Elections.
The vote differential, however, is so slim that it will result in an automatic manual recount of all 80,000-plus ballots cast. A margin of victory below 450 votes (0.5 percent) triggers such a recount.
“We said from the beginning that every vote needs to be counted and that every voter needs to be heard and now we see clearly why this must always be the case,” Katz said in a statement. “I am proud to have been chosen as the Democratic nominee for Queens District Attorney.”
Katz anticipates a tough battle ahead before the election results are certified, expected to be done by mid July.
“We know that these numbers can and will be subject to the recount, and there may be legal challenges, but what matters most is the will of Queens voters….This is Democracy.”
Many Cabán supporters were stunned by the change of events. Cabán started the day 1,199 votes ahead of Katz only for the lead to vanish. They questioned the integrity of the BOE, which has a reputation of being staffed by party loyalists.
When Cabán declared victory on June 25, her supporters were convinced the results would hold, since they knew that Katz needed to win an overwhelming majority of the 6,300 absentee and affidavit ballots that had to be counted. Additionally, there were six candidates vying for the votes.
Yesterday’s count was controversial, since the BOE ruled out about 2,000 affidavit ballots. They were reportedly deemed invalid for a variety of reasons, including the ballot being mailed too late, the form being filled out incorrectly or the voter not being a registered Democrat.
The Cabán team plans to review the ballots to make sure every eligible vote is counted. Her team remains confident that she will prevail.
“Queens voters are inspired by Tiffany Cabán’s campaign and her vision for real criminal justice reform. If every paper ballot vote is counted, we are confident we will prevail.”
The winner is expected to face GOP nominee Daniel Kogan in November.