As of 10:30 a.m., Rep. Tim Bishop has narrowed Randy Altschuler's lead to 81 votes as Suffolk elections officials count absentee ballots in Yaphank, Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider reports.
According to Schneider, the Altschuler camp has challenged 193 more absentee ballots than has the Bishop camp, which in Bishop math gives the incumbent the lead.
"The more votes we count, the more gains we see for Tim Bishop," Schneider said. "Randy Altschuler can lodge frivolous challenges to suppress votes, but the bottom line is that Tim Bishop is winning."
Now would be a good time to point out that Schneider has, at some point every day this week, told us that he is not "spinning" the absentee numbers to us. We checked in with the Altschuler team to see how they would like to similarly not spin the numbers for us.
The absentee count is now complete for election districts in East Hampton, Smithtown, Southampton and Southold, Schneider reports, along with one of four Shelter Island EDs and 5 of 22 Riverhead EDs.
It's worth noting that the absentee count in each candidate's strongest towns are now finished. The two basically split Brookhaven and Altschuler narrowly won Riverhead. See the spreadsheet below (which includes the election night totals from the voting machines) for the town-by-town totals.
(Update 12:24 p.m.) Altschuler spokesman Rob Ryan weighs in: "The only thing ‘frivolous’ in the vote counting process are the press releases being issued by the Bishop campaign. Congressman Bishop and his staff know that Randy Altschuler is winning this race and that challenging ballots is a common legal practice to protect the integrity of the process. Their constant harangue is proof positive that they are concerned about the validity of the ballots challenged and will say anything to change the subject.”