Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was declared the official Democratic nominee for the Queens District Attorney’s Office from the Board of Elections on Monday, despite a pending lawsuit to validate over 114 affidavits from her opponent public defender Tiffany Cabán.
“The Board of Elections certified that we have won the campaign for the Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney,” said Katz. “I am grateful to the Board, and particularly to the dozens of BOE employees who undertook the painstaking work of evaluating each of the over 90,000 votes cast in the primary.”
The BOE finished manually counting the approximately 90,000 votes last week and declared that Katz won the primary with 60 votes over her closest opponent, Cabán.
With only dozens of votes separating Katz and Cabán in the primary, the latter will continue to move forward with a July 31 court hearing to restore 114 votes that were invalidated to possibly bring her ahead into the lead and make her the nominee once again.
“Eligible voters’ ballots must not be disqualified due to the BOE’s failure to provide them with adequate assistance and guidance at polling sites. Until then, the outcome of this election remains undetermined. We once again urge the Katz campaign to join our efforts to protect voting rights in Queens as we head to court,” said Cabán campaign spokeswoman Monica Klein.
While Cabán and her team are ready to go to court, Katz is looking forward to assuming the role of the district attorney.
“While it is everyone’s right to avail themselves of the judicial process, I urge all participants in this hard-fought election to come together and join me in beginning the hard work of reforming the criminal justice system in Queens,” said Katz.
Jerry Goldfeder, Cabán’s lawyer, has turned to a legal precedent set by The Appellate Division, Second Department that was established several years ago to argue that the ballots in question should be validated despite clerical mistakes.
“During the recount, the Katz campaign objected to a significant number of valid Cabán ballots, and these votes were not counted by the Board of Elections. We will ask the Court to count these valid Cabán votes, and to count the many ballots cast by eligible voters that were invalidated by the BOE because of minor form errors,” Goldfeder said.
Goldfeder believes there are even more than 114 votes that were also dismissed that should have been tabulated.
“Additionally, we will also ask the court to order the counting of many other votes wrongly invalidated by the Board, including those cast by poll workers who were given the wrong ballots; voters who were in fact registered, but whom the Board erroneously ruled were not; and the many voters who were misdirected to wrong poll sites,” added Goldfeder.
In the meantime, Katz has scheduled an appreciation party in Forest Hills at the Irish bar Banter for her supporters and volunteers who helped her with the campaign at 7 p.m. located at 108-22 Queens Blvd.
“This is a major moment for this borough, and it will take the support of all its residents to make this effort a success. I will be spending the months ahead preparing for this critical task,” said Katz.