WPCNR EVENING CITY STAR REPORTER MIDNIGHT EXTRA. By John F. Bailey. September 20, 2002, 12:30 A.M. E.D.T.: Adam Bradley outlasted, and appears to have ended Ms. Matusow’s tenure as Assemblyperson in the 89th Assembly District, effective December 31.
SHAKING HANDS ALL AROUND WITH A GLASSY LOOK IN HIS EYE: Mr. Bradley strode to the center of the Board of Elections reception area, looking genuinely happy and just, well dazed, his first words were, “I’m pleased to say, the final numbers, Naomi Matusow, 32, Adam Bradley 17, and 3 no votes,” and then he accepted congratulations.
Photo by WPCNR
Ms. Matusow, an Assemblyperson for five terms, has been primaried out of her seat by a grassroots effort by New Castle “Activist” Democrats and the Working Families Party, and the Independence Party which worked very hard for Mr. Bradley’s candidacy. New Castle Democrat Co-Chair, Maureen Keating-Tsuchiya, attributed the Indian Point issue as the big motivator for New Castle Democrats to support Bradley.
A LEGAL CHALLENGE by Ms. Matusow is expected Monday (just a block away from the Board of Elections where Thursday’s final counting took place), in Supreme Court in White Plains before Judge Orazio Bellantoni. Here, she and her supporters are shown going over Official Board of Elections Canvass Sheets prior to going in to Thursday’s review and count of the remaining absentee and affidavit ballots.
Photo by WPCNR
The final, “unofficial” WPCNR totals find Bradley receiving 2,728 votes, and Ms. Matusow, 2,706, a difference of 20 votes with 5,434 Democrats voting districtwide. (Totals of
Mr. Bradley, if no court challenge overturns the results, moves onto the November 5 ballot with the Democratic, Independence and Working Family’s party lines, which he wrested from Ms. Matusow in early candidate interviews with the two parties. A legal observer, Chris Riley, gave the opinion that any Matusow challenge would be “fast-tracked” to the Court of Appeals within a week or so, that there was no way Matusow could remain on the ballot while a suit was being decided.
THE FINAL REVIEW BEGINS, as Reginald LaFayette, Democratic Commissioner of the Board of Elections, proceeds with Mr. Bradley, Steve Goldenbrg (back to camera) and Tim James, (in red), to the review room at slightly past 11:00 Thursday.
Photo by WPCNR
The Final “Votedown”
To accomplish this, Bradley survived a deliberate, determined absentee and affidavit ballot count Wednesday and Thursday at the Board of Elections. The last 52 paper ballots from Bedford, Harrison, New Castle, Lewisboro, New Castle, North Castle and Pound Ridge were counted over a period of 9-1/2 hours.
Going into today, Bradley, the Democratic City Committee Leader from White Plains led incumbent Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow by 23 votes in the 89th District Assembly Democratic Primary. Ms. Matusow needed 44 votes out of the 52 votes examined Thursday to defeat Mr. Bradley, counting on her up-district support in Bedford, Lewisboro, North Castle, Pound Ridge and New Castle. She did not get them.
9-1/2 hours to examine 87 paper ballots.
After 5 hours were spent Wednesday challenging the validity of all Board of Elections “throw-outs” and absentee and affidavit ballots from White Plains districts only, with Bradley picking up 20 votes to Matusow’s 12, with 3 contested, the rest of the votes from the seven other towns were reviewed and counted Thursday.
Counting did not begin Thursday until 11:05 A.M, when Naomi Matusow and her legal counsel from Albany, Dan Conviser, said to from the State Assembly staff, and Adam 0Bradley, Steve Goldenbrg (a veteran vote observer from New Castle), Tim James, Bradley statistician and Rafael Vega headed downstairs into the ballot-examination room to review the eligibility of the final 52 ballots. Around noon, Vega and Goldenbrg left and Bob Bogar and another Bradley volunteer took over with Mr. Bradley and Mr. James.
“Organized Albany” Arrives.
There was a lunch break at 1:05 PM, at which point only Harrison and Lewisboro had been examined. Counting resumed at 2:20 PM with Tom Roach joining the Bradley vote-examination team, which consisted of Roach, Bradley, and James. Two Albany Assembly persons arrived via state limousine, approximately 2 PM, one of whom Bradley identified as State Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz and a man named Quail from the Democrat Assembly Campaign Committee who descended to the reviewing floor, reportedly to observe some of the action, but had left by the time the final counting had begun.
BOARD OF ELECTIONS DELIVERS WHITE PLAINS ROSTER BOOKS FOR REVIEW BY THE MATUSOW TEAM.
Photo by WPCNR
FOI’s Fly. Poll Roster Books Requested.
From about 10 A.M. on, when WPCNR arrived, Ms. Matusow’s campaign workers, two gentleman from Albany, and two from her home district of North Castle filed Freedom of Information requests for ReCanvass Sheets. They were going over election district yellow Recanvass sheets from the White Plains districts, and other strong-for-Bradley districts, doing a task they did not do last week that the Bradley team did do.
At 2:45 P.M., Ms. Matusow and her lawyer, Mr. Canviser requested Poll Roster Books to begin the task of checking signatures in the White Plains districts. (Poll Roster Books are the books you, as a voter sign each time you vote). The objective, WPCNR can only presume, was to find voters who did not vote and possible grounds for challenge.
REACHING OUT AND TOUCHING SOMEONE ALL DAY: Mr. Bradley on his various breaks from the review, was kept busy contacting relief observers so often, his cellphone ran out of power.
Photo by WPCNR
Cellphones Squawk as “Votedown” Winds Down.
After an hour and fifteen minutes of resumed vote review, at 3:30 PM, Mr. Bradley emerged to say that Harrison, Bedford, North Castle and part of New Castle had been reviewed. During the entire four hours of the Thursday process, cellphones rang intermittently in the hands of all canvassers in the cramped BOE waiting room, and especially Mr. Bradley’s. Mr. Bradley’s cellphone ran out of juice by 3:30PM and he was forced to borrow Maureen Keating-Tsuchiya’s.
At 4:10 PM, an obviously fatigued Mr. Bradley, emerged again from the Review Room to say that North Castle and half of New Castle votes had been reviewed, with Pound Ridge remaining. Media and supporters wondered how long it would take. All in the waiting/reception area had been told a count might begin at 4 PM.
Commisioner emerges. Count Not Moved Upstairs for Public to See.
At 5:45 PM, Reginald LaFayette, Democrat Commissioner of the Board of Elections, appeared from the downstairs review room to announce that “actual counting of the votes was being held downstairs to speed up the process.” On Wednesday afternoon, the counting of the White Plains ballots was being held in public view in the Board of Elections glassed-in conference room opposite the waiting room. Bradley loyalists and media were deprived of the final moments of the “votedown.” Five supporters awaited “the final count”
At 6:10 P.M. TOM ROACH HAS NEWS: Tom Roach, White Plains City Councilman, emerged from the bowels of the Board of Elections where he had been an observer and a part of the counting just completed. He read the results, saying that of the final 52 votes (38 absentees, 10 affidavit ballots, and 4 emergency ballots just unimpounded at the start of Thursday morning), Ms. Matusow had received 32 votes, Mr. Bradley 17 and there were 3 no votes.
Photo by WPCNR
Ms. Matusow had failed to overcome the Bradley 35-vote margin established Wednesday evening. She needed 44 votes, she got 35 and had unofficially lost the primary by 20 votes.
Tension disappears. The smiles break out. War Whoops!
The diehard Bradley supporters on hand, Maureen Keating-Tsuchiya, Rafael Vega, Kevin Koop, Chris Riley, and Robin Schlaff shook hands, hugged and kissed. Within minutes, Mr. Bradley appeared, with a big wide grin followed by Tim James. He repeated the numbers Mr. Roach had just announced.
BRADLEY SUPPORTERS REACH PROMISED LAND: After the announcement, the core group of Bradley workers, L to R, Robin Schlaff, Tim James, Bob Bogart, Chris Riley, Kevin Koop (back to camera) and Rafael Vega, were interviewed by the media. That’s Susan Elan of The Journal News doing the honors.
Photo by WPCNR
Unofficial counts to be presented to Judge Bellantoni Monday.
The count is over, and now the court proceedings begin. Ms. Matusow and Mr. Bradley will appear in Supreme Court Monday, at which time Judge Bellantoni will expect unofficial counts of the final totals from the Board of Elections.
Ms. Matusow had filed a “cross-answer” to Mr. Bradley’s Order to Show Cause which he filed Wednesday forbidding the Board of Election to announce a winner until all votes were counted. Now Ms. Matusow, according to sources, will most likely attempt to mount a possible legal challenge based on their belated examination of Roster Books and ReCanvass Sheets which her team and herself had begun yesterday.
Board of Elections will not certify for at least a week.
The Republican Commissioner of the Board of Elections Carolee Sunderland, said the Board would not have certified results until as late as Thursday of next week.