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Judge Denies Battisti's Request For Hand Recount In Broome DA Race

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) - A judge has denied a request from candidate Paul Battisti and another petitioner for a hand recount in the race for Broome County District Attorney.

After absentee and affidavit ballots were counted last month, Libertarian Mike Korchak led Republican Battisti by 55 votes out of 43,069 ballots cast. A third candidate, Democrat Debra Gelson, finished a few thousand votes behind.

Battisti filed a Request for Judicial Intervention, asking for a hand recount. He argued the difference in the race was too close and voting machines did not guarantee an accurate count.

Representatives from the Broome County Board of Elections argued that three-percent audit comparing ballots to voting machine results showed no discrepancies.

In his decision, Chemung County Judge Richard Rich agreed. "The court finds Petitioner's arguments that every election must be subject to a hand count following the tabulation of results from the voting machines and the argument that the equal protection of rights of voters are violated by the difference in regulations between certain counties lack merit," Rich said.

In a statement, Battisti campaign representatives criticized the judge's decision. "We are incredibly disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision denying a recount of the ballots in the Broome County District Attorney’s race," Battisti's lawyer John Ciampoli said. "This decision denies the people of Broome County an accurate count and will prevent us from knowing which candidate actually won this race." Ciampoli added that Battisti is reviewing his appellate rights.

Meanwhile, Korchak, who declared victory in late November, is set to formally take office in January. He ran on the Libertarian Party line after losing the Republican primary to Battisti earlier this year. That race also came down to absentee ballots.