At the end of last week’s election for the representative of the 27th District to the New York State legislature, it looked like the favorite to win south-Brooklyn’s special election, Democrat Lew Fidler, had been defeated by an upstart Republican Russian immigrant lawyer, 32-year-old David Storobin.
But absentee ballots had not yet been counted, so the animosity of the campaign stretched into calls of fraud and exclusionism as Storobin’s 119-vote lead was whittled down to only 37 after about 500 of the 1,500 remote-votes had been counted.
As the counting continues on Thursday and Friday lawyers for both sides are most likely going to go to the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn to ask a judge to examine the disputed ballots, so far 151 from Wednesday’s count. In a continuation of the angry style of the campaign Kalman Yeger, campaign manager for Fidler, commented on the dispute:
“We have identified significant patterns of fraud, including a good number of people who sent in absentee-ballot applications who stated they were permanently disabled but then showed up to vote.”
According to lawyers for the Fidler campaign there are 177 people who had filled out applications to vote absentee who claimed permanent disability. Those ballots, the lawyer’s claim, were all collected by the same woman.
David Simpson, a spokesman for Storobin countered with the contention that, “These votes are being targeted ethnically for exclusion so it can go to court” he said. “We believe every vote should be counted the same way.”
The fight will not be an easy one, as proving a person’s disability in front of a judge is not a simple matter. There is a chance that Fidler’s campaign will hire private detectives to ascertain the authenticity of the disability claim of the absentee voters.
“It is shocking that the lies from the Storobin campaign continue a week after the election” Mr. Yeger said.
In angry response Storobin’s representative, David Simpson said:
“David Storobin made a concerted effort in this historic election to empower Russian-American voters and better include them in the democratic process. It is wrong for the Fidler campaign, now that they are losing an election, to try and subvert the democratic process by specifically excluding voters from the Russian areas of the district, many of whom are participating for the first time.”