Digging Out NY-20 With A Shovel

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Apr 03, 2009 4:12 PM

It’s the special election that everyone says is going to tell-all for the next big round of Congressional elections in 2010, and Democrat Scott Murphy had less than 100 more votes than Republican State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco when the polls closed on Tuesday. But according to the local Times-Union, 10,000 absentee ballots haven’t been counted yet, and can be received up until April 13.

The breakdown of the 10,000 ballots is key. Because it’s all we can do, let’s assume the absentee ballots sent to specific party members will, in fact, be returned with a vote for that party. Using the numbers from the Times-Union:

4,475 ballots were sent to Republicans. 2,928 have been sent back

3,390 absentee ballots were sent to Democrats. 2,160 are back.

Meaning that at this point in time, Tedisco leads Murphy by 668 votes.

If all the absentee ballots are counted, Tedisco would lead Murphy by 1130.

The wrench in the whole thing is that 1,973 absentee ballots were sent to third party members and unenrolled voters. 935 are back, but it doesn’t matter. There’s no easy way to predict how many of these are Republican or Democratic.

What we can predict is how many more votes the Murphy needs to win the election. He needs about 67%, or 2/3, of the uncounted absentee votes. So the question remains: are 2/3 of snowbirds, college kids, military servicemembers, and high-flying New Yorkers voting D, or R? Sorry, Chris, I won't bet a chicken sandwich on this one. Check out the comments section of the Times Union for some hot-and-heavy analysis.