Even though two weeks have passed since Election Day, officials are still counting emergency ballots in the state 7th Senate race between incumbent Sen. Jack Martins, R-Mineola, and challenger Daniel C. Ross, D-Manhasset, due to reported failures of ballot scanning machines at polling places in the district.
The race was called for Martins on election night, but the reported failures of the new optical-scan voting machines necessitated the taking of emergency ballots at polling places where machines were unable to operate.
According to the Nassau Board of Elections, there were 270 reports of machines jamming out of 1,175 total machines in the district. However, some machines could have experienced multiple jams.
The emergency ballots, once cast, are taken into a secure facility and placed under lock-and-key until they are scanned and counted by members of the Nassau County Board of Elections. There were a total of 11,683 emergency ballots cast in the Seventh Senatorial District between Martins and challenger Daniel C. Ross.
This is the first time the voting machines have been used in a Presidential election in New York State.
There also exists between 20,000 and 25,000 affidavit ballots that have yet to be counted. Affadavit ballots are used when voters who have not gone to the polls in some time, come out to vote, which typically occurs in a Presidential election year.
Board of Election officials – consisting of one Democrat and one Republican – typically scan the ballots in groups of 10. According to Republican Elections Commissioner Louis Savinetti, after counting the emergency ballots, Martins increased his lead to 4,171 over Ross at the end of last week.
According to the Nassau Board of Elections website, as of the end of counting on Saturday, Martins held a 54,103 lead over 49,834 for Ross, a difference of 4,269.
“Senator Martins wants to thank the voters for supporting his re-election,” Martins’ communications director Joe Rizza said in a statement. “He looks forward to continuing to work hard for the people of the Seventh Senate District.”
Democratic commissioner William Biamonte was unable to be reached for comment Monday.
Calls requesting comment from Ross were not immediately returned.