Election officials counting previously untallied ballots in a New York congressional Democratic primary say incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel is expanding his lead over his top challenger, who went to court last week to ensure counting would continue.
Rangel was 989 votes ahead of state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, New York City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said Friday evening after counting had ended for the day in the state's 13th Congressional District. The district includes precincts in both Manhattan and the Bronx.
Rangel stood at 18,920 votes and Espaillat had 17,931 at the close of business Friday, according to results released by the city's board of elections.
Results released last Saturday showed the 21-term congressman 802 votes ahead of Espaillat. Those figures were released after Espaillat's campaign filed a lawsuit contending too many ballots were left outstanding in Tuesday's election.
Officials completed a count of valid ballots in the race Friday, and will resume counting Saturday those which were considered invalid on election day -- incompletely marked or cast by someone who appeared not to be a registered voter at the time.
"If a campaign chooses to prove an invalid is valid, deemed with appropriate documentation, and consensus from the bipartisan team of board of election staff, it will be considered as a vote," Vazquez said.
Rangel added 143 votes to his lead over Espaillat on Thursday, when city election officials counted 521 ballots.
Espaillat conceded hours after the polls closed June 26, when preliminary results showed him approximately 2,300 votes behind Rangel.
Vazquez said last Saturday there are 3,270 absentee and affidavit ballots (given to voters whose registration status was uncertain on election day) to sort through and potentially count.
Espaillat is Dominican-American in a district where 55% of eligible voters are Hispanic and, if elected, would be the first Dominican-American elected to Congress.
The winner of the Democratic Party primary is expected to win the November general election in the district.