Blood or chocolate? The fate of the spotted vote was decided at the Brindisi-Tenney House race

Update: After the story was published, Tenney’s lawyer told a judge that his campaign had not rejected his objection to the vote count.

Was it a stain of blood or chocolate?

No one will ever know. But the vote with the infamous sign on the back is still pending in the indefinite election between MP Anthony Brindisi and MP Claudia Tenney in the 22nd Congressional District.

Herkimer County’s lawyer told a judge today in a letter that election officials intend to count the votes in a court-ordered rebuttal.

The ballot paper was set aside and six other Herkimer County votes were left countless after Tenney’s campaign disputed the validity of the votes in absentia.

Tenney’s lawyers say it could be chocolate or blood on the back of the ballot. If there was blood reserved by his lawyers, the ballot paper should be rejected because it could be used to identify the voter and could violate the person’s right to vote by secret ballot.

Lorraine Lewandrowski, a county attorney in Herkimer, told the judge leading today’s vote count that the Tenney campaign had rejected her objections.

“The (election) commissioners intend to cancel the vote in question and include the vote in updated figures to be submitted to the court,” Lewandrowski wrote in his letter.

Hours later, however, lawyer Paul DerOhannesian II of Tenney wrote to the judge that the campaign did not reject the spotted vote.

The DerOhannesian has asked Scott J. DelConte, the state’s highest court judge, to make sure the ballot is not taken into account until he can review and determine if it is a valid vote.

Tenney, a Republican from New Hartford, saw his 28-night-long election night lead over Brindisi in D-Utica drop to 12 votes as some 60,000 missing votes were counted in the constituency.

Tenney’s lawyers, along with hundreds of his associates, attacked the spotted vote, presumably because it was Brindisi’s vote.

Herkimer County Electoral Commissioner Kim Tranter told today that she does not know who will bring up the controversial vote.

Ballot papers are obtained at the DelConte Oswego court, where they were arrested for at least two weeks.

The spotted ballot symbolized the circus atmosphere of the election, which was characterized by a series of dramatic developments, including mistakes, incorrect ballots, and lost sticky notes by election officials falling off the disputed ballots.

Voting rights advocates say the debate over blood or chocolate is also an excellent example of the frivolous challenges lawyers have put to candidates in this year’s close election.

The number of challenges has increased as election officials have processed a record number of missing ballots in New York due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Advocates want state lawmakers to pass a bill that would require all controversial ballots to be made public in a database where New Yorkers can find out if someone is trying to cancel their vote.


Judge’s instruction could help Brindisi as the focus shifts to a myriad of votes in NY-22

The judge ordered a partial recount in the Brindisi-Tenney House race

New complication in NY-22: The election officer suffers from a coronavirus

The Brindisi-Tenney House Race reveals Electoral turmoil in New York

Claudia Tenney asks the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, declaring it victorious over MP Anthony Brindisi

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