Pheffer Amato lost 3 votes in the Queens Assembly race against Thomas Sullivan

Republican Thomas Sullivan leads incumbent Queens Rep. Stacey Pheffer Amato by a razor-thin three votes as a recount looms in the race — as well as litigation over dozens of ballots now disputed by the Democrat.

“We will go to court to ensure that rules and regulations comply with the law as stated and are interpreted broadly in favor of protecting voters’ rights to cast and count their ballots,” Amato (D-Rockaways) said Wednesday, referring to a new law passed by Albany Democrats earlier this year.

“No voter should be penalized with arbitrary decisions that defy logic and prevent a voter from even trying to fix possible mistakes,” she added.

The case brought by the three-year lawmaker in Queens Superior Court concerns whether 92 disputed absentee ballots – out of 32,245 votes cast in the election – could still count despite problems such as voters forgetting to sign them or seal envelopes.

Two other votes were wrongly voided by election officials, according to the press release, which also notes that nearly a dozen more ballots unrelated to the court case could still be counted, according to Pheffer Amato.

Sullivan, an Army Reserve veteran who has worked in the financial industry, vows to fight his Democratic rival’s efforts to get the courts to reverse decisions made by in-race election officials.

Thomas P Sullivan.

Republican Thomas Sullivan is leading the race by three votes.

Thomas Sullivan

Sullivan is an Army Reserve veteran and worked in the financial industry.

“These ballots were voided by a bipartisan Election Committee team, and there were material errors on these ballots that called into question the integrity of the ballot,” Sullivan told The Post on Thursday.

“It was either not stamped, not sealed, not signed,” he added of the disputed votes.

It remains unclear how Sullivan’s three-vote lead could grow or disappear depending on a court ruling expected in the coming weeks or the manual recount required by state law given the narrow margin.

According to CUNY Mapping Service, President Biden won the newly drawn borough, which includes parts of the Rockaways, Howard Beach and Ozone Park in Queens, by a margin of 52.4% to 47.6% over Donald Trump in 2020.

Stacey Pheffer Amato.
In Amato’s case, the issue is whether 92 disputed absentee ballots could still count despite problems like voters forgetting to sign them or sealing envelopes.
Dennis A Clark

But the assembly district is one of several won by Republican Lee Zeldin as he fought hard on criminal justice reform in his close race against Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“One of my commitments during the campaign was to break this law with no cash bail,” Sullivan said of what he plans to do in Albany if he ends up winning.

Some disheartened Democrats have blamed Hochul’s “hot mess” campaign for not giving them the coattails they needed to win close races in places like the Outskirts, where the GOP clinched several angry victories this November.

But legal formalities could cost Republicans seats in the legislature before the legislature begins its new term in January, with a Brooklyn Assembly race potentially ending on whether or not the apparent GOP winner meets the residency requirements.

“Whoever is the loser is going to stop trusting the process,” Sullivan said Thursday of his own three-vote nail biter. Pheffer Amato lost 3 votes in the Queens Assembly race against Thomas Sullivan


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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