- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - It’s looking less likely that the presumptive winner of a pivotal state Senate race on Long Island will take his seat before the Legislature returns to Albany on Tuesday.

Democrat Todd Kaminsky won 780 more votes than Republican Chris McGrath in last week’s special election. But McGrath hasn’t conceded and wants voting machines rechecked. Officials also must count 3,000 absentee and emergency ballots before announcing official results.

That process began Wednesday when nearly 900 absentee ballots were opened, with the rest expected to be counted over the next few days. The Senate, meanwhile, returns Tuesday to begin the final weeks of the 2016 session.

Between 3,000 and 3,300 absentee and emergency ballots were submitted in the race, with a slight majority from Democrats. McGrath would have to pick up a large percentage of them to overcome his deficit.

The victor will replace ex-GOP Senate Leader Dean Skelos, who was convicted of corruption last year and is set to be sentenced next month.

Democrats had hoped Kaminsky could be sworn in before lawmakers reconvene.

“For four months, the voters of the 9th Senate District have been without a representative following the conviction of Dean Skelos,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy. “The Senate GOP must not attempt to disenfranchise any voters or stall the process.”

A spokesman for the Senate Republicans said the campaign simply wants to ensure all votes are counted correctly.

Democrats and Republicans now have 31 seats each in the Senate, so a Kaminsky win would give Democrats the majority. But Republican control of the chamber will likely continue - at least for now - thanks to six Democrats who broke with their party to empower the GOP.

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