Official tallies still neck-and-neck as hand-count of nearly 7,000 absentee ballots begins...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2009, 11:07am PT  

With hand-counts taking place in Pheonix (a criminal investigation into allegations that a 2006 Tucson election may have been defrauded electronically), and completing in Minnesota (the 3-judge panels just completed count of remaining, lawfully cast, previously-rejected absentee ballots) this week, we've neglected to keep you up to date on the remarkably close results of the NY-20 U.S. House Special Election from last week in which the Democrat Scott Murphy had edged out the Republican Jim Tedisco by just 65 votes on Election Night, after polling place lever machines were initially, and unofficially, tallied.

The special election is meant to fill the vacated seat left open by now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand after she was tapped by the Governor to replace now-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate.

The numbers in the NYT-20 race have gone back and forth and back and forth over the last week as counties canvassed their numbers, checking and double-checking for accuracy, in advance of the counting of some 7,000 absentee paper ballots which is set to get underway today.

Thankfully, TPM's Eric Kleefeld has been following every peak and valley in the roller coaster ride over the last week and, as thankfully, David Kurtz over there has rounded up the highlights of Kleefeld's ongoing coverage to give us a quick summary of where things stand today as the hand-counting is set to begin...

As Kurtz summzarized last night:

A big chunk of the almost 7,000 absentee ballots (all but the military and overseas absentee ballots that have yet to arrive in the mail) will be counted for the first time, more than enough votes to potentially swing a race where the candidates are separated at most by a few dozen votes.

TUE, MAR 31: Murphy leads on Election Night by 65 votes.

WED, APR 1: Murphy's lead is whittled down to 25 votes.

THU, APR 2: Confusion reigns over which set of numbers is most up-to-date: Tedisco leads by as many as 12 votes, or Murphy leads by no more than 6 votes.

FRI, APR 3: The state's official numbers show an exact tie. But more recent numbers from one county show Murphy up by 198 votes, while the Tedisco camp claims it's actually him ahead by 30 thanks to another county --- where officials weren't talking to reporters.

MON, APR 6: Officially, Tedisco leads by 97 votes, but newer numbers from one county show Murphy is the real leader, by 83 votes.

TUE, APR 7: Tedisco is officially ahead for now, by 17 votes.

All this back and forth in the totals is pretty common in every jurisdiction and usually affects the final tally only marginally. The difference here is those marginal changes have been enough to change the provisional leader, pending the results of the absentee ballot count tomorrow.

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