Maloney declared winner in congressional primary after thousands of ballots tossed

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (l.) and her Democratic primary challenger Suraj Patel.
Photos by Mark Hallum

Six weeks after the June 23 election, the New York City Board of Elections declared incumbent Carolyn Maloney the winner of the 12th Congressional District’s Democratic primary. 

Maloney, who has served the district encompassing Greenpoint and Williamsburg since 2013, was declared the victor over progressive challenger Suraj Patel after a federal judge ordered that up to 1,200 discarded absentee ballots be restored on Monday. The Board of Elections named Maloney the winner later Tuesday evening.

“I’m thrilled the voters of NY-12 have decided to return me to Congress for another term, with a decisive winning margin that clearly reflects the will of the voters,” Maloney said. “These include increased funding for the post office, an end to measures taken by the President that might impact timely delivery of applications or ballots, and conducting oversight to ensure that voters have faith in the results of their elections.”

However, Patel — who has sued the governor for discarding more than 120,000 in his district for late or missing postmarks — refuses to concede, arguing that pulling out now would undermine his effort to redeem the district’s invalidated ballots, a campaign spokesperson said. 

“This is now a fight to protect the voting rights of millions of Americans in the midst of a global pandemic,” the campaign said in an Aug. 3 statement. “If we fail, we are bound to see the mistakes of our Democratic Primary repeated in November’s election, where Donald Trump, an existential threat to our democracy, has already signaled a desire to deny the outcome.”

In the 12th Congressional District alone, about 20 percent of absentee ballots were tossed by the BOE due to late or missing postmarks, often because of delays and mistakes within the US Postal Service. Elections officials dismissed 30,000 ballots in Brooklyn from the June 23 elections — a quarter of the borough’s total absentee ballots. 

Maloney was first elected to Congress in the 14th District in 1993, and was recently re-elected as chair of the House Oversight Committee. In 2018, Patel challenged Maloney, taking 40 percent of the vote.

This article first appeared on AMNY.com