Indian American candidate Suraj Patel, pitted against Rep Carolyn Maloney for the Democratic Party nomination to run for 12th Congressional district has asked a Manhattan court to supervise the counting of votes in a tight race where he is lagging by just 1.6 per cent of the ballots counted so far.
The counting of absentee ballots that will determine the outcome of the primary election for the party nomination between Suraj Patel and the sitting House of Representative member Carolyn Maloney was to start this week.
Of the in-person votes cast on June 23, Patel received 15,825, which is only 648 less than the 16,473 that Maloney received.
There are about 39,000 absentee ballots that were delivered in person or by post to be counted and they exceed the in-person votes as an unprecedented number of voters opted to vote by mail because of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Several irregularities were reported in the primary elections. There were complaints that some voters were given incomplete ballots, others failed to get the absentee ballots they had requested and some found their polling station changed.
Patel’s campaign filed the case requesting supervision in the New York State Supreme Court.
“Voter suppression is a real thing. And it’s not just real in Republican states. It’s also real in the Democratic Party,” he told MSNBC TV.
“We’re prepared to fight to the last tooth and nail to get every single vote counted.”
Patel asserted that Maloney outspent him by $2 million collected mostly from corporate interests, while he has not taken corporate money.
The 74-year-old Maloney, who is serving her 28th year in the House, was elected with 86.4 percent of the votes in 2018, defeating the Republican and Green Party candidates. That year, Patel lost the primary to Maloney by 9.4 per cent of the votes.