City Board of Elections commissioners voted unanimously today to reverse their December decision and allow disputed paper ballots to be counted in the yet-undecided 11th SD race, signaling the beginning of the end of what has been an extremely contentious and drawn-out process.
Depending on how long the count takes - and there have been conflicting reports as to exactly how many ballots are out there, but it's somewhere between 1,700 and 2,700 - this contest could be a contender for the title of longest-running undecided legislative race in modern history.
The record to date is the 2004 Spano-Stewart-Cousins race, in which Spano wasn't declared the winner until Feb. 8 of 2005 - and then by just 18 votes.
Republican Frank Padavan, who was the incumbent GOP senator when this whole mess started, has a lead of several hundred votes - perhaps as many as 500 - over his Democratic challenger, Councilman Jim Gennaro.
Observers and operatives on both sides of the aisle have been more or less in agreement (at least privately) that Padavan is going to be declared the winner.
The Democrats had a stake in delaying that outcome for as long as possible back when the leadership battle was still raging in the Senate, as it deprived Republican Dean Skelos of a vote. But that turned out not to make much of a difference in the end.Despite the fact that he is technically no longer a senator, Padavan says he has been showing up for work at his district office, which continues to be staffed at the expense of the Senate GOP. He has already announced his intention to seek re-election in 2010.