After recanvassing the county's new electronic voting machines, Republican Dan Losquadro said on Sunday that he's in the lead by 892 votes for a seat in the New York State First Assembly District. But, distrusting the accuracy of the machine count, incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Marc Alessi said in a statement that he wants a hand recount.
Losquadro, who lead incumbent by only 40 votes by the time polls closed early last Wednesday morning, said he was informed by the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Friday that, after all of the voting machines' memory cards had been double checked, his lead over Alessi now stands at almost 900 votes.
"I had been hearing during the week that the numbers had been moving in my favor," Losquadro said in a phone interview Sunday morning. "And I feel I will have a substantial edge once the absentee ballots come in — there are more registered absentee Republican voters than Democrats."
With 2,500 absentee ballots still left to count, Losquadro said he expects to wait a number of days before the tally is certified. Military ballots, according to law, have until the end of November to arrive at the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
Absentee results notwithstanding, Alessi said in a statement on Sunday that he has never in his five years in office seen such wide swings in reporting between election night results and the results of re-canvassing. The Assemblyman said he supports a hand re-count of the paper ballots.
"I am growing more concerned by the day with the new voting machines that went into use this year," he said. "I am also concerned with the stories I have heard since Election Day of machines across the North Fork shutting down and having other problems. The accuracy of these machines is untested, and the preliminary results have been less then stellar thus far."
But Losquadro said he did not see any problems with the electronic ballot scanners themselves – only human error in a few voting distritcs.
"When I looked through the numbers, I found that three districts had glaring anolmalies," he said. "But I saw human error in reporting the numbers from the machines — and those numbers don't always break in your favor."
Election results show that the First Assembly District had the highest turnout rate among all 11 Assembly races in Suffolk County, drawing 42,028 voters to the polls. The two candidates remained separated by 40 votes, which were not tallied until the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"We're just waiting for the official certification at this point, and I have no idea whether the other side will concede or not," Losquadro said. "But this race just shows you how very engaged the North Fork and the First District is when it comes to the election process."