The slow count: Hand tallies of paper ballots is the only way to the truth

It was two years ago, Dec. 2, 2020, when Donald Trump, angling for anything to undo his loss to Joe Biden, claimed — with no justification or facts — that Dominion voting machines were rigged and, “we have to go to paper. Maybe it takes longer, but the only secure system is paper.”

Trump lost the national popular vote and the Electoral College without question and Dominion machines produce straight-arrow, triple-verified results, but the defeated man was entirely correct about paper ballots. Following the 2000 Bush-Gore Florida recount fiasco, a joint MIT/Caltech study found that the most secure voting is by paper ballots, which can be hand-counted in close contests.


New York State is soon finishing this year’s hand counting exercise, which as Trump pointed out, takes longer, but gets final, conclusive outcomes.

On Long Island, Democratic Assemblywoman Judy Griffin trailed former GOP Assemblyman Brian Curran by 158, forcing a hand count, where she only closed the gap to 138 and lost. In the Hudson Valley, Chris Eachus led Republican Kate Luciani for an open Assembly seat by 21 votes. The hand count cut it to eight, but Eachus still won.

Syracuse Democratic state Sen. John Mannion was ahead of Republican Rebecca Shiroff by 60 votes. The hand count final was a 10-vote Mannion edge. The biggest hand count was for a state Supreme Court judgeship in central New York. The GOP candidate led by 797 votes. Hand counting a million ballots certified his victory by 794 votes.

Each time the hand count winner was the candidate who was leading. But that may be different in the Rockaways, in the final contest of the year. The machine tally had GOP challenger Tom Sullivan besting Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato by three votes. The hand count then gave Pheffer Amato the lead by one, later boosted to eight. There are potentially dozens more absentee ballots to be opened and counted next week, producing the winner, unless it’s a tie, meaning a new election. Messy, but it’s the fairest way.

— New York Daily News

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