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Impound Stalls Vote Tally in Ball/Wagner Race

Court hearing set for Tuesday on the incumbent's challenge to the election day vote count.

Voting machines in 10 Westchester municipalities have been impounded, delaying an official outcome in the Wagner vs. Ball state senate race, a county elections official said Friday.

The court-ordered impound has also made it impossible to announce final figures, though not the apparent winners, in several other contests, he said.

The official, Westchester County Elections Commissioner Reginald LaFayette, said Republican State Sen. Greg Ball, who was facing a challenge by Democrat Justin Wagner, had cited unspecified “irregularities” in obtaining the impound on election night. “They were granted an impoundment order,” LaFayette said.

Wagner could not be reached Friday; Ball’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The order, by State Supreme Court Justice Francesca Connolly, sealed all machines in Cortlandt, Peekskill, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown.

LaFayette said Ball's assertions will be aired at a court hearing Tuesday.

Among the races affected by the impound order were state Assembly contests in the 92nd, 93rd, 94th and 95th districts.

LaFayette downplayed the impact of the court’s order, which suspends vote counting as soon as it’s issued. “We get this routinely every election,” he said.

 “It will affect the numbers in those districts being counted,” he said. “That’s all. . . . This won’t turn a race.”

Ball (R, C, I-Patterson) declared himself the victor over Wagner (D, Working Families-Croton) late Tuesday. Refusing to concede, the Wagner campaign said it would wait for official numbers.

The 40th district also comprises parts of Dutchess and Putnam counties, where unofficial returns showed Ball ahead by almost 7,000 votes in the two-county tally, 19,902 to 12,947.

Earlier, reports suggested that mechanical problems had stalled the vote count in northern Westchester. But LaFayette and a number of town clerks disputed that. “There was no problem with the machines,” LaFayette said. “Nothing unusual.” He said that “every election there’s a machine that goes down—and then it comes back up. That’s true through the history of elections, whether the old machines or the new machines.”

Asked the basis on which the Ball campaign sought the impound order, LaFayette said that an assertion had been made that “there may be some irregularities.”

“We go to court [Tuesday] to hear what they have to say,” he said.

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