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Altschuler Challenges Stony Brook Votes as Recount Heads to Court

An update on the First Congressional District race.

Representatives of U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, and Republican opponent Randy Altschuler will meet on Tuesday to continue to hash out the votes they have each challenged in the First Congressional District race – including 31 votes cast by students at Stony Brook University.

Both sides will attend a meeting Tuesday morning at Board of Elections headquarters in Yaphank to try and cut down the number of challenged votes between both sides. In addition, 71 military votes will be counted. From there, a judge will determine what to do with the remaining ballots.

Tuesday's meeting comes after both sides met on Monday and cut out approximately 250 challenges on both sides, said Bishop spokesman Jon Schneider. According to Schneider, after absentee and affidavit counting ended last week, Altschuler had challenged 1,261 votes, and Bishop 790. He said that Bishop currently holds a 235-vote lead.

Last Tuesday, Schneider announced Altschuler had questioned the validity of 31 votes which had originally been deemed acceptable by the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Altschuler spokesman Rob Ryan confirmed the challenge.

"We made challenges just like they made challenges," he said. "We are protecting our right to challenge their ballots. All of our challenges are based on legal rights."

On Wednesday, the New York Public Interest Research Group issued a statement condemning Altschuler's challenge on the grounds that students have the legal right to register and vote using their campus residences.

"Students are vital members of their community, shop and work in the area, and are counted in the federal census as residents of the college," NYPIRG program director Geoff Boehm said in the statement. "Unless the campaign has reasons to question the eligibility of specific voters, they should withdraw this discriminatory challenge."

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