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Trial to decide Senate race

November 30, 2012
ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA - The race for state Senate between Republican George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk will be decided in a courtroom trial.

A?trial will take place next week to decide the validity of more than 800 ballots that have been challenged by the candidates.

Attorneys David Lewis and Frank Orr, representing Amedore and Tkaczyk, respectively, appeared before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson on Thursday.

Article Photos

Photo by John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union pool photographer
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson speaks during the ballot-counting case for the 46th State Senate District at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Fonda on Thursday.

Tomlinson ordered both attorneys to file the appropriate documents before Monday's trial, which will include opening statements from both parties as well as a categorized list of what county the votes are coming from and the reasons for the objections.

Amedore, a Republican, and Tkaczyk, a Democrat, are competing for a state Senate seat in the 46th Senate District, which includes Montgomery County. Amedore is leading by about 100 votes.

According to election commissioners from the counties, Albany County has 34 challenged ballots, Green County has 117, Montgomery County has 31, Schenectady County has 74 and Ulster County has 521.

Lewis said one or two categories would require testimony.

"This part of the process will determine the winner," Orr said of the trial.

Opening arguments and briefs will be shown Monday at 9:30 a.m., while arguments regarding Schenectady and Montgomery county ballots will occur Tuesday. Albany, Greene and Ulster counties will be considered Wednesday. However, the schedule is tentative.

Orr said the majority of ballot objections are from the Republican side, with only 200 coming from the Democrats.

"I believe a lot of the challenges have no basis in law," Orr said, adding he preferred to just count the votes and see what happens.

Lewis has made objections to some ballots in Ulster and Greene counties, stating some ballots were filed by people who do not live in the counties.

When questions of residency were raised on some ballots, Orr said he could not answer. They were not his objections.

"I believe there is no evidence," Orr said.

Orr said he was unsure how long it would take to determine the result of the election.

Lewis said they hope to reduce the number of ballots.

"I expect once the judge learns the legal matters behind the ballots, he will rule those ballots invalid," Lewis said.

The newly formed 46th Senate District includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and parts of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties. The new district takes effect Jan. 1.

Tkaczyk, who lives in Duanesburg and also is running under the Working Families party line, is vice president of the Duanesburg Central School District Board of Education.

Amedore of Rotterdam currently is a state assemblyman representing the 105th District, which includes Montgomery County.



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