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Election law prevented 100th District recount

Feb 21, 2011 11:02 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's own legal counsel may have written the tough no-recount election law interpretation that cost him his long-held supermajority this year."][/caption]Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News has a piece about the recent case that saw incumbent Democrat Frank Skartados concede the seat for the 100th Assembly District last week while only 15 votes behind the man he defeated two years ago, Thomas Kirwin. According to Katz, Skartados' lawyer, who had been Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's adviser, wrote the vague state law that may have cost Silver his powerful and long-held veto-proof Democratic supermajority. Kathleen O'Keefe, while she worked as Silver's chief election counsel, interpreted state election law NOT to include mandated recounts in close elections, setting the stage for a Brooklyn appeals court to rule unanimously in favor of Kirwan when it tossed out about 60 contested affidavit ballots that many felt would have swung the election back to Skartados.


According to Katz, "O'Keefe, reached yesterday, headed off any questions. 'I have no comment, [and] I'd rather you didn't call me,' she said before hanging up. Silver did not return a call." She then goes on to note that "even Kirwan's lawyer James Walsh - though thrilled with his client's victory - said he would have interpreted the law differently if he'd been in O'Keefe's place in the 100-day-plus struggle." "If I were her, I would've [tried to] open up all the machines - especially [in] Dutchess County with its higher concentration of registered Democrats," Katz quotes Walsh saying.

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