Heard Around Town: March 29, 2012

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* Republican David Storobin's lead over Democratic City Councilman Lew Fidler in the Brooklyn Senate race shrank from 119 votes to a mere 37 yesterday in the first day of absentee ballot counting at the Brooklyn Board of Elections. David Simpson, spokesman for the Russian-American Storobin, claimed Fidler repeatedly challenged ballots in Russian-American districts: "They have shifted to a tactic of ethnic exclusion, objecting to almost all of the absentee ballots from the Russian election districts and with Russian last names." Fidler's campaign manager, Kalman Yeger, claimed many Storobin supporters who cast absentee ballots also showed up at the polls: "We do not know the ethnicity of any voter but we do know that people who voted twice should only have one vote counted." Tallying the remaining 500 ballots resumes today.

* Redistricting is not dead yet. Some of the plaintiffs in the case that resulted in court-drawn lines for Congress have filed amended complaints, alleging that the maps split the Orthodox Jewish community in Ramapo and black and Hispanic communities in Nassau County. They are a sort of Hail Mary pass for the offended parties, given that courts have historically defaulted to gerrymandered plans drawn by state legislatures as long as they don't violate the Voting Rights Act. Lawyers for the Senate and Assembly must answer the complaints by April 2, at which point Magistrate Roanne Mann will hold a status conference to determine what, if any, further action is needed.

To read the full City and State article click here.

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