Randy Altschuler’s latest press release may be the most provocative statement to come out of either camp since the election began. In it, Altschuler accuses Bishop of disenfranchisement and ‘stealing’ the election through one of his advisers.

The press release, which came from Altschuler’s office, is somewhat strange because it refers to the campaign as a separate entity. The Republican has begun most of his past announcements with ‘We’, but this one reads more like a news story. The hope may have been that other news outlets would print it in full and it would seem like journalism to an unaware reader.

The first of a few bizarre bizarre statements came when Altschuler’s office said that “To-date, gains by Bishop in the absentee ballot count can be attributed to the fact that Bishop’s hometown of Southampton had 328 more absentee ballots than the Town of Smithtown.”

Altschuler is ignoring a few things here. 328 votes is about 70 less than the number of votes that Bishop gained after far more than the two districts of Smithtown and Southampton were counted. Bishop had an advantage in the regular voting in many of the districts in which absentee ballots are yet to be counted.

Also, it doesn’t matter where the votes come from. Even if 328 more of them came from Southampton, they still count. Rob Ryan’s quote is even more interesting.

Ryan, Altschuler’s Senior Communications Adviser, said that “Congressman Bishop’s campaign has cynically challenged the ballot of active duty military personnel as well as over a dozen individuals who were working for the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Election Day. Congressman Bishop and his supporters are attempting to disenfranchise individuals who have a legal right to vote. Bishop and his cohorts are desperate to steal this election and are proving that every day.”

Bishop has challenged around 500 votes and Altschuler has challenged over 700. The candidates disagreed on the exact number of votes each campaign has challenged, but both estimated Altschuler have called 200 more ballots than Bishop into question.

The description that Altschuler and his campaign give to these legal challenges have no basis in fact. There is no evidence that Bishop is disenfranchising voters, nor is there evidence that any of Altschuler’s 700 plus challenges are illegal or unethical. Since challenged ballots are ruled on in court, any mistakes by either campaign will be corrected for.

Active military or poll day workers are not excused from challenges. It isn’t ‘stealing’ an election to challenge them if there are errors on their ballots. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if in fact some of the hundreds of poll workers voted incorrectly. After all, they misreported almost 4,000 votes on election night if the re-count shows no errors were made by the scanning machines.
-Monday Monday, 11/23/10