Absentee ballots counted in 2 tight New York House races

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ROME, N.Y. (AP) - Workers began counting more than 17,000 absentee ballots Wednesday, which could determine the winner of a close congressional race in New York.

Democrat Anthony Brindisi was nearly 1,300 votes ahead of Republican U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney as most of the eight counties in New York's 22nd Congressional District started counting absentee ballots and recanvassing.

A separate count continued Wednesday in western New York, where Republican Rep. Chris Collins was leading Democratic challenger Nate McMurray by fewer than 3,000 votes on election night.

Both counts are expected to last multiple days.

The count in the Brindisi-Tenney race started a day after the two campaigns reached an agreement in court setting rules for the process. The ballots had been impounded since Friday.

Tenney campaign attorney Paul DerOhannesian said counting started without any major hitches.

Under the deal, the board of elections in each county will allow a representative from each campaign to be present for the counting process. If there is more than one table where counting is being done, a person from each campaign must be allowed at every table, the Observer-Dispatch of Utica reported .

DerOhannesian said the results are scheduled to be certified by Dec. 3.

In western New York's 27th District, Collins is seeking re-election while awaiting trial on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI. He has pleaded not guilty. There are more than 10,000 absentee ballots being counted across the eight counties in that district.

The outcome of the race could become clear Nov. 20 when Erie County becomes the last of the counties to count its absentee ballots. The county, the largest in the district, has about half of the total absentee ballots cast.

Collins is scheduled to be tried in February 2020 on charges accusing him of leaking confidential information about a biopharmaceutical company that allowed his son and others to avoid huge stock losses.

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