In a letter to his supporters, the Conservative Party congressional candidate writes:
As evidence surfaces, we find out that reported results from election night were far from accurate. ACORN and the unions did their best to try and sway the results to Obamacare supporter Bill Owens. I was forced to concede after receiving two pieces of grim news – – down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night – and barely won my stronghold in Oswego County. On Election Night, the information we received was far different from what we received this week! . . .I’m sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. . . .
A recanvassing in the 11-county district shows Owens’ lead has narrowed to 3,026. In Oswego County, I was reported to lead by only 500 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted election night, but inspectors found I actually won by 1,748 votes . . . .
The district’s second biggest voter turnout was in Jefferson County, where I had also benefited from a turnaround since election night, gaining another 700 votes. Owens led by 300 votes on the final election night tally, but after recanvassing, I’m now leading by 424 votes. Jerry Eaton, the Republican elections commissioner for Jefferson County, said inspectors found a problem in four districts where my vote total was mistakenly entered as zero. The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which the state Board of Elections distributed about 10,200. . . .
You can read the whole thing. My own source suggested last week that it is unlikely that Hoffman’s margin in those absentee ballots would be enough to erase the 3,026-vote gap. However, the need to ensure an accurate count, and to expose any potential illegalities, is still very important. If anyone has committed criminal wrongdoing in this upstate New York district, they need to be identified and prosecuted.
Furthermore, the narrowing of the gap by more than 2,300 votes between the reported results on Election Night and the actual vote tally shows how misreporting can affect political outcomes. If the reported margin had been narrower — and especially if the tallies in Oswego and Jefferson had been accurately reported — Hoffman never would have conceded that night.
Most of all, the discovery of the errors (or “mischief”) in the vote-count makes it a near-certainty that Hoffman will challenge Owens in NY23 in 2010.
UPDATE 3:53 p.m.: Virus found in voting-machine software taints results.