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Lally wins by 11 votes in 3rd CD race, officials say

Grant Lally poses for a portrait at his

Grant Lally poses for a portrait at his law office on May 13, 2014. Credit: James Escher

Mineola attorney Grant Lally won the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary by 11 votes, the State Board of Elections said Thursday.

The board certified the results Thursday, after a court battle over absentee ballots.

Lally's opponent, Stephen Labate, said he will seek a recount, citing the narrow difference.

But election law experts say Labate would have an uphill battle in requesting a recount after the state has certified the election results. They said Labate would have to show there were irregularities with specific electronic voting machines -- a difficult task since each machine is verified as working properly before the election.

Lally received 3,439 votes to Labate's 3,428 in the district spanning Northeast Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk's North Shore, according to results certified by the Nassau, Suffolk and New York City boards of elections.

Nassau's Board of Elections submitted its certified results to the state Wednesday, after a court case involving fewer than a dozen contested Nassau ballots was discontinued. Suffolk and New York City submitted their certified results last week.

Lally, who worked for George W. Bush during the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential race, called on Labate to concede.

"Mr. Labate knows he lost this election," Lally said.

Labate, a Dix Hills financial planner and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, said he planned to file a request for a recount but could not specify when.

"When you have an election that is so razor thin, that is so close . . . we want to make certain the vote is what it is," Labate said.

Steve Schlesinger, a Garden City attorney who does election law work for local Democrats, said in this case, a "recount is an act of futility," because electronic voting machines were audited before voting began.

Mineola attorney Peter Bee, who handles election law cases for Republicans, said, "Generally speaking, once the election results are certified, only the state attorney general can challenge" the state board's action.

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