Nearly a week after the Democratic primaries, there is still no clear winner in the Williamsburg district leader race. Lincoln Restler is a leader of the New Kings Democrats club, a progressive, reformist political club. His opponent is Warren Cohn, son of long-time district leader, Steve Cohn. The stakes are high for this unpaid, little known position in Brooklyn’s 50th assembly district. So why the heated race? Why are these two twenty-somethings battling it out until the last vote is counted? One of the responsibilities of the district leader is helping select the county chairman, and this has become a big issue this election season. Democrats in the County of Kings are divided over current Democratic boss, Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Restler has said he will vote Lopez out. Cohn is believed to support him. Recounts of the votes have seen each candidate gaining and losing the lead back and forth all week, leaving the outcome of the race still very unclear. From The Brooklyn Paper:
“The recount was the second change in leadership this week after Restler appeared to win the Williamsburg-Greenpoint-Fort Greene state committee seat on Primary Day by just 19 votes. First, dozens of “emergency” paper ballots were counted late in the week, and Cohn got 97 to Restler’s 46, putting Cohn up by 41 votes. But then workers made their official recanvass of their Election Day count, and suddenly Restler’s 19-vote machine lead surged to a 3,569–3,423 total, or 146. Bringing back the paper ballot score only cut Restler’s lead to 85 votes. Tomorrow, election workers will begin counting the remaining ballots in the race — about 300, including 103 absentee ballots.”
This close vote has already brought into question New York’s new voting machines. The optical scanning machines made their debut during last week’s primary, and are generally considered more reliable and accurate than the old machines, but these fancy new toys are still getting the kinks worked out.