April 15th, 2009
02:56 PM ET
12 years ago

Gillibrand: GOP stooping to 'new low' over ballot challenge

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/15/art.gillibrand.gi.jpg caption="Gillibrand said the GOP is stooping to a 'new low.'"](CNN) - New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand accused Republicans of stooping to a "new low" Wednesday amid reports GOP lawyers have challenged her ballot in the election to name her successor in the state's 20th congressional district.

"Their latest move to challenge my ballot is part of a much larger attempt to disenfranchise legal Democratic voters and delay Scott Murphy's inevitable victory in the 20th," she said in a op-ed on the Huffington Post.

The Albany Times Union first reported on Tuesday lawyers for Republican Jim Tedisco objected to Gillibrand's absentee ballot because the senator was in the district on Election Day.

Thousands of absentee ballots remain to be counted in the special election called to fill the congressional seat vacated by Gillibrand when she was appointed to the Senate. As of Tuesday, Tedisco trails by just under 50 votes.

A spokeswoman for Gillibrand said the senator requested an absentee ballot because she did not expect to be able to vote at her polling location because Senate votes were scheduled that day.

"The Republican's challenge is frivolous and without merit," said Gillibrand spokeswoman Bethany Lesser in a statement to CNN.

Lesser also noted New York state law allows a voter to request an absentee ballot if he or she has an expectation to be absent on Election Day. State law further says a voter must intend to be outside of their home county on election day, not the congressional district as a whole. Though Gillibrand was in the 20th congressional district on the evening of Election Day, she did not enter her home county, Lesser said.

Lawyers for Tedisco have not returned CNN's request for comment.

Filed under: Kirsten Gillibrand
soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. Terry

    America's Conservative leadership has little respect for the electoral process. Their point of view is that any election that they did not win cannot, by definition, be a valid election. Because they only recognize their own legitimacy – and no one else's – they do not believe that anyone else is entitled to hold office. Look at the Clinton impeachment. There was NO basis for the impeachment, and after a $60 million investigation, nothing was found, BUT the political processes of the nation were paralyzed for several years.

    Now, in the Minnesota Senatorial election, a Minnesota court has judged that the Democrat Franken won. The Conservatives – who preach a preference for states' rights and local control – plan to ask the FEDERAL SUPREME COURT to overturn a state ruling. What hypocrisy!

    April 15, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Chery Tx

    The repubs are out of control***hypocracy of the Republican Party is just staggering!!!

    April 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Big Ed

    And the Republicans wonder why we are in the situation we are in as a country? It'is moronic, self-styling, posturing like this and in Minnesota that has a lot of people wondering, just what are the Republicans doing? It appears to me that the only objective of the GOP is to oppose any and all actions by Democrats and offer nothing (like the last 8 years) to help ordinary people make a better life for me and mine. I think the GOP needs an intense course in Civics. Remember the phrase a government "of the people, for the people and by the people"? Remember those pesky little things called checks and balances? How about that list of things...what were they called now.. oh yeah...the Bill of Rights?

    And you wonder why you lost the election...

    April 15, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. RO

    How can those who call themselves Republicans be proud of their party?

    April 15, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Luke Brown

    This kind of GOP BS is great for Democrats all over the country.

    Look at Norm Coleman in Minnesota. These people can't stand it when elections don't go their way, and they don't care that Minnesota doesn't have two senators working for them in Washington.

    It is a great reminder to voters in every state that Republicans think they are entitled to rule... and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

    Senator Franken ... thanks for staying so cool through this whole thing. Coleman is making your re-election much easier..

    April 15, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Watchful Cowboy

    Why challenge a ballot if it was a lawful vote. Whether absentee, early, or on the day at the place – be proud she voted – that is the American way. When will sanity return to the election of our representation.

    April 15, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Robert H

    I consider myself to be far left, thus benefited by the outcome of this election. From a strictly legal sense, the Republican response it is the correct action to take. In life, there are two ways you can lose: gracefully, or passionately. The Republicans lost, so they are losing passionately, fighting to the bitter end. Kudos to them. It's not an outrage, it's the American way.

    April 15, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Marge

    Well we see the republicans who know they can't legally win an election are swimming around in slime. Look at Minnesota. They want to take the election to the supreme court and hope the republican majority will appoint Coleman. After all they stopped the legal voting in Florida causing bush to be appointed and look at the mess he made of this country. I think republicans should be banished to a desert island til their term expires. Will you post this CNN???????

    April 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Cathy in AZ

    To the GOP – GROW UP!

    April 15, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Expat...

    What else is new with the Republicans! They cheat their way through everything in life.

    April 15, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. jacques

    Didn't Barrack Obama challenge ballots and votes to get himself elected in Illinois? Why was it ok for Obama to challenge votes, but nobody else can do the same thing. Democrats are a bunch of hypocrites.

    April 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Mari

    Once more the GOP prove to America how desperate and vile they are!

    What else is new? They stole the 2000 presidential elections, when Al Gore won the popular vote and somehow...... Jeb Bush "delivered" Florida for his big brother, W.!

    The GOP cries "ACORN!" "VOTER FRAUD!"........ BUT....... its all a smokescreen to distract from what IS REALLY going on!

    April 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Richard L

    Al Gore tried to do what was best for our country by not dragging out a long series of court challenges.

    Republicans in Minnesota and New York have shown no such PATRIOTISM.

    April 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Ravi

    I am so thankful for Gillibrand... she makes us so proud. We finally have a NY senator who represents the entire State of NY, instead of some elitist who only represents one tiny little corner of the State.

    April 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. Todd

    I think any time you're having to argue against counting a vote made in these circumstances you've already behind the eight ball. It's sort of a ludicrous argument to make.

    April 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. WBN

    A "challenge" is a right, a tactic, an attempt–duh, kinda like Al Franken did (to his own advantage)! Liber als are such whiners. And the liberal media just keeps on taking sides.

    April 15, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Alfred E. Nueman

    I love the smell of Republican desperation in the morning.

    April 15, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Loridoke

    if the situation was reversed the democrats would to the same thing!

    April 15, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Big B

    This civil war between repubs and dems is only going to get worse. Soon we'll be fighting each other more and focusing on making this country better less.

    April 15, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Steve In California

    I don't know how it works in New York, but in California, voting absentee ballot when you are home is perfectly legal, as long as you've filled it in, and signed it. I have voted absentee for years, to avoid the hassles of going to the poll.

    These challenges have gotten rediculous. Oddly, they're all challenges by Republicans. In the elections where Republicans won by a narrow margin, they are not challenging the system. Sorry, guys, you lost. Keep this nonsense up, and you will lose more. Americans are tired of spin and hair-splitting. You're spending incredible amounts of money and wasting incredible amounts of time with this stuff. Take that energy and do something that may be a foreign concept to you. Do something positive, for your people.

    April 15, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Joey

    look in new york the democrats have dominated politics forever and we need a better system that includes all of us in the democratic process. How we elect officials in our primaries is totally undemocratic. The people voted for term limits a few years ago and look at what happened to our vote it was taken from us by a mayor who thinks he has all the answers for all of us. And the rest of the politicians in new york city don't want to run against him due to some kind of back door politics. We the people need to really get involved and stop paying welfare/hospital bills for illegals and really let us vote in the primaries (us meaning; Independents, and Republicans not just democrats for all the primaries in the city and state.

    April 15, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. Jo

    GOP suck up that egg and move on. Life is not around your party so get over it.

    April 15, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Roger

    The Republicans have no ideas, no vision, the only thing they have is "NO". Perhaps a new party to replace the skeleton of the old Republican party is in order. The blowhards of yester year need to be replaced by innovative, charismatic, intelligent and forward thinking individuals who are not mired in the past. A vote is a vote and should be counted. This is just more Republican foolishness that only reinforces President Obama and what he is trying to do for our country. I say keep it up Republicans, you are only doing disservice to yourselves!

    April 15, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    I don't see how this is a "low".

    There are rules and regulations in elections. If the rule states that the absentee ballot cannot cannot be counted if the voter was in the district, then a challenge is the appropriate course of action. If that rule seems to be wrong, go through the proper channels to rectify the problem so that it doesn't happen again.

    WWLD? (What Would a Liberal Do?)

    April 15, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Lynne - Seattle

    If the laws in the state of NY says she can vote absentee, I don't see how they can challenge her ballot. Here is WA state, you can ask for an absentee ballot just because you want one...my county has gone to 100% mail in ballots.

    I don't think you can blanket comments about one PARTY or another...both are guilty. Let's look at things in a situation by situation way. Does the law of New York allow her to vote absentee? Yes! Her ballot counts....end of story.

    April 15, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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