From NBC's Mark Murray
The counting of absentee ballots begins today in the thisclose NY-20 special congressional election. As of now, per the New York State Board of Elections, Jim Tedisco (R) is leading Scott Murphy (D) by 17 votes. And that number will undoubtedly change when the absentee-ballot counting starts.
Given how close the race is, Republicans today fired a warning shot of sorts, suggesting that they will fight any ballot that appears to be questionable. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions released this statement: "Following the final tally of votes from Election Day, we are confident that Jim Tedisco's current lead will increase given the Republican advantage among absentee ballots. Working with the Tedisco campaign, we remain committed to protecting the integrity of the election process and ensuring that every eligible vote -- particularly those of our military men and women -- is counted. We are thankful to the local officials on the ground who share this commitment."
Added RNC Chairman Michael Steele: "As absentee ballots begin to be counted today, it is important that the integrity of the electoral process be ensured. The only way to achieve that is by making sure every eligible absentee vote is counted -- especially those absentee ballots cast by our fighting men and women serving overseas. I'm confident Jim Tedisco's lead will increase as these votes are counted."
We can also tell you, however, that Democrats are equally confident about Murphy's chances.