Democrat Bill Owens has been the Representative for New York’s 23rd Congressional district for seven days now, but his election still isn’t official. According to The Post-Standard, recanvassing has narrowed Owens’s lead over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to 3,026 votes, not the 5,336 votes Hoffman thought he was down when he conceded the election last Tuesday. The new, smaller margin means the election will be decided by absentee ballots, 10,200 of which were sent out. Hoffman’s chances of overcoming the deficit are remote, but not so remote that the new tally hasn’t made his campaign think twice about its actions last week.
“I don’t know if we would have conceded on election night,” Rob Ryan, Hoffman’s campaign spokesman, told the paper. “I’m someone who doesn’t like to look back. But would we have taken longer to make a decision on election night? Probably, if we knew it was only 3,000 votes making the difference.”
At the time of Owens’s swearing-in on Friday, he led the vote tally and the election wasn’t contested, so everything was perfectly legal. But what happens if Hoffman somehow manages to make up those 3,000 votes? Simple. “Owens will have to be removed,” says John Conklin, communications director for the state Board of Elections.