After the second day of counting absentee ballots, Doug Hoffman has gained 344 votes on Owens, a pace that is not nearly enough to change the outcome of this race. According to the Watertown Daily Times , this is where things stand with about 43% of the absentee ballots counted:
|Clinton||10536 (68)||7530 (58)||686 (23)|
|Essex||3718 (0)||3175 (0)||432 (0)|
|Franklin||5,125 (0)||4,589 (0)||247(0)|
|Fulton||1969 (84)||2489 (179)||676 (62)|
|Hamilton||888 (60)||1184 (85)||293 (87)|
|Jefferson||10460 (164)||10884 (165)||1179 (151)|
|Lewis||2169 (0)||2676 (0)||282 (0)|
|Madison||8087 (203)||8985 (170)||602 (122)|
|Oneida||2024 (219)||2779 (446)||362 (97)|
|Oswego||11000 (276)||12748 (315)||950 (123)|
|St. Lawrn||12987 (0)||8748 (0)||1,194 (0)|
|% of vote||48.7||46.4||4.9|
There are 4,262 absentee ballots remaining to be counted. Assuming that Hoffman continues to gain at this incremental pace, and that Scozzafava continues to take close to 20% of the absentee ballots, Owens is still likely to win by some 2,000 votes. That margin is roughly 1.5% of all votes cast, including those going to Scozzafava. That may not be enough to justify a recount. Although standards vary from state to state, it is often the case that the margin separating the two candidates has to be 1% or less of all votes cast to trigger an automatic recount (in states that have this provision.) I spent some time looking through New York’s electoral laws and there does not seem to be a provision for an automatic recount. I’ll keep checking.
Meanwhile, Owens is settling into life in Congress, with less than a year to solidify his support before facing reelection. To help him do so, the House Steering and Policy Committee placed Owens on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. Fort Drum is located in Owens’ district which also shares a border with Canada. And like any incumbent trying to protect his position, Owens pledged to “do everything in my power to maintain and strengthen Fort Drum as a Member of Congress, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee I will fight tirelessly for the base, the surrounding community and for our entire district, all who benefit from Fort Drum’s presence.” Protecting local military installations is a nonpartisan position that should appeal to both Republicans and Democrats.