Final vote count begins today in Queens DA primary

Empty voting booths at a Ridgewood polling place on election day.  Eagle  file photo by David Brand.

Empty voting booths at a Ridgewood polling place on election day. Eagle file photo by David Brand.

By David Brand

The final vote count in the 2019 DA primary will start at 10 a.m. today — more than a week after the election.

There are 3,552 absentee ballots left to tally, a spokesperson from the Board of Elections told the Eagle. That number could increase as mail comes in before the count begins at the Board of Elections office in Forest Hills, the BOE spokesperson said. 

There are also 2,781 affidavit ballots to count, though that number is likely to decrease as ballots are deemed invalid, the BOE spokesperson said. The election result will be officially certified after the count is complete.

Since re-canvassing the voting machines to check the ballot totals, Cabán’s campaign has called people who submitted affidavits to find out who they voted for — prompting a response from Katz’s campaign.

"Our strategy is simple: We believe every valid vote should be counted, period,” Katz’s campaign said. “And we do not believe that a potential prosecutor should be calling voters to ask to know who they voted for."

A person working for Cabán’s campaign said calling voters was “standard,” and Cabán’s spokesperson Monica Klein downplayed the issue.

"Volunteers from across the borough are calling voters to make sure every valid vote is counted — no matter what the Party machine may try to do," Klein said.

The campaign said they are confident the current result will hold.

“We are confident that if every valid vote is counted, Ms. Cabán will be the Democratic nominee for District Attorney,” the campaign said in a statement. “The people of Queens have spoken clearly that they believe that every community deserves justice.”

Aside from the affidavit spat, veteran election and campaign finance lawyer Jerry Goldfeder said the count will be a pretty straightforward process. Goldfeder is working on behalf of Cabán.

“I’m confident that this will be resolved in a few days once the paper ballots are counted and that Cabán will win,” Goldfeder said.

He previously worked for the campaign of Councilmember Rory Lancman, who dropped out of the race and endorsed Katz five days before the primary.

Not all the remaining votes will go to Cabán and Katz, however. 

Former Judge Gregory Lasak, who finished third, will likely pick up votes. So will former Civilian Complaint Review Board Director Mina Malik, former state Attorney General’s Office prosecutor Jose Nieves and attorney Betty Lugo will also pick up some votes.

So will Lancman, who appeared on the ballot and earned more than 1,000 votes even after dropping out.