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Queens District Attorney: 16 Votes Still Separate Katz, Caban In Democratic Primary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Both campaigns in the Queens District Attorney Democratic Primary race are calling for every eligible vote to be counted.

For now, the battle over affidavit ballots appears to be on hold as a manual recount gets underway, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

The Board of Elections was to begin organizing the ballots Tuesday, but not start the manual recount until Wednesday. While the camps for Melinda Katz and Tiffany Caban have been battling out over the count, they are agreeing that every valid vote should be counted.

The Democratic nominee in the race is still up in the air, with the uncertainty seemingly dividing the party. Queens County Democratic Chair Gregory Meeks is calling for unity.

Tiffany Caban, Melinda Katz
Tiffany Caban and Melinda Katz, Democratic opponents in the Queens District Attorney race.(credit: CBS2)

"We're here today because we want to support this Democratic process," Meeks said. "We want every valid vote counted!"

Added Caban's attorney, Jerry Goldfeder, "I think both sides recognize the importance of every registered voter and eligible Democrat to have his or her vote counted."

As of Tuesday morning, Queens Borough President Katz holds just a 16-vote lead over public defender Caban.

Caban was winning after primary night by nearly 1,200 votes, but Katz took over by a hair after some 4,000 paper ballots were counted.

MOREQueens District Attorney: Tiffany Caban Not Conceding After Losing Lead To Melinda Katz

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On Tuesday, the BOE was to begin the automatic recount of all the 91,000 votes cast in the primary. A state Supreme Court judge was to rule on whether 114 affidavit ballots with missing information should be validated and counted, but is holding off judgment until after the recount.

"If that vote is sufficiently close, we will ask the court to open up all the erroneously invalidated affidavit ballots," Goldfeder said.

"Regardless of the outcome, the certified results must be respected by everyone," Meeks said.

The BOE said the count could take up to two weeks. Representatives of Katz and Caban will be meeting with the judge next week should any issues arise in the recount.

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