President Donald Trump maybe have moved his residency from New York to Florida but his shadow still hangs over a local New York election.
Despite a steep, seemingly insurmountable vote deficit, U.S. House of Representatives NY-12 primary candidate Suraj Patel refused to concede the election, ignoring calls from his opponent and the leading candidate, incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn), to do so.
His refusal to concede the race came after a federal judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit on Tuesday night that Patel joined pushing to have ballots that had been disqualified count in the race.
The judge ruled Tuesday that votes that had originally been tossed out for lack of a postmark now be counted towards the final vote count. The New York City Board of Elections announced Wednesday that they would certify the June 23 election results but said that they would prepare to count any of the ballots that fall under the court’s decision.
Even though the new votes are unlikely to change the outcome of the race, for Patel, the case is not about winners and losers, it’s about protecting the sanctity of the franchise that is the cornerstone of a democracy. He couldn’t end the race, he said, because more was at stake than his bid for office –– the enfranchisement of voters.
“We have an obligation to shine a light where there is darkness and get to the truth no matter how uncomfortable that truth might be –– that is why I haven’t conceded in my Primary, because the issues uncovered in our NY-12 election are now bigger than anyone candidate or campaign,” he wrote in a statement Tuesday night. “This is now a fight to protect the voting rights of millions of Americans in midst of a global pandemic.”
Patel’s court challenge and the judge’s decision to count more votes gave Trump the opening to further his case that mail-in ballots was fraught with problems and possible fraud.
“I think you probably have to take the Carolyn Maloney race and run it over again,” Trump told reporters yesterday at a White House briefing. “They are six weeks into it now and they have no clue what’s going on, and I think I can say right here and now, you have to rerun that race because it’s a mess.”
Maloney was happy the judge ruled that the ballots should be counted but said that the amount that were disqualified was negligible. There weren’t enough to sway the results, which are in her favor, she said. Patel should concede, Maloney said, and by not doing so he is acting as a mouthpiece against mail-in voting for Donald Trump.
“It is regrettable that my former opponent has become President Trump’s mouthpiece in disparaging mail voting by making unsupported claims of many thousands of ballots being invalidated when the true facts show a smaller number that had no effect on the results,” she said. “I call upon Mr. Patel to do as almost every other losing candidate has done: concede that the voters have spoken and stop validating Trump’s undermining our democratic process.”
That statement as then repurposed in a fundraising email sent out to her constituents to which Patel responded in a tweet.
“It’s a shame that Rep. Maloney doesn’t know the difference between those who seek to suppress the voters as Donald Trump does, and those fighting to make every vote count. Last night, a federal judge agreed that we are the latter,” he wrote.