BINGHAMTON, NY – Two weeks before he’s scheduled to take his oath of office, a New York State Supreme Court Justice has cleared the way for Mike Korchak to officially take over as Broome County District Attorney.
Judge Richard Rich of Chemung County ruled against a petition filed by Republican candidate Paul Battisti seeking a manual recount of the general election results.
Korchak, who ran as a Libertarian after losing the GOP primary to Battisti, won the race by just 55 votes out of over 42 thousand ballots cast.
He praised the judge’s ruling saying that the Broome County Board of Elections had tabulated the results properly.
Korchak has been the Chief Assistant District Attorney for the past 4 years under Republican Steve Cornwell.
He says he plans to retain the same staff as he prepares to take office.
“We have a lot of new laws coming into effect, the bail reform act and the discovery reform act, takes place on January 1st. So, we’ve been training our staff and preparing them for that transition. With this hanging over my head, I’ve still been working for the people of Broome County and we’re still moving forward with the transition.”
Korchak says voters responded to his message that they should vote for the person and not the party in electing a third-party candidate.
Battisti’s attorney released a statement criticizing Judge Rich for not allowing him to present evidence that the voting machine counts may have been inaccurate.
Battisti’s campaign says it is considering its options for appeal.
Meanwhile, Korchak is planning a swearing-in ceremony for January 1st.
Read Paul Battisti’s Statement below:
“We are incredibly disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision denying a recount of the ballots in the Broome County District Attorney’s race. This decision denies the people of Broome County an accurate count and will prevent us from knowing which candidate actually won this race.
“We produced proof to this Court that the machines used in Broome County are not programmed to count every legal ballot. Further, we demonstrated that the machines are not programmed to exclude legally void ballots. The Court chose to focus on an audit that merely confirms that the machines are counting ovals that are filled in.
“We demonstrated to the Court that there are different standards for doing a complete hand canvass of the ballots in the various counties within our state. The Governor, in advancing legislation to correct the deficiencies in state law, admitted that the standards vary. This makes our equal protection case. In Ulster County and the five counties of New York City, a race this close has a mandatory hand count and review. In Columbia County every race, no matter how close, is subject to a hand count. We pointed out that the Constitution guarantees the citizens equal protection of law. Here, Broome County Citizens are getting second class treatment. The Court erroneously concluded that this claim had no merit and did not focus on the point that the Governor made – that our citizens should not be subject to unequal treatment. This is especially true when it comes to our sacred right to vote.
“This Court could not distinguish between a hand count and an audit. An audit merely tells you that the machine is reading filled in ovals. A hand count actually counts all the legally cast ballots – because New York is an “intent of the voter” state [if the intent of the voter is clear from the ballot – it counts].
“This decision maintains we showed no irregularities. We showed that the machine can not count certain valid ballots. The Court denied us an opportunity to even obtain the ballot images, so that we could demonstrate which ballots were improperly excluded from the count. This decision only serves to undermine the confidence of the voters in our election process. We are reviewing our appellate rights.”