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The unofficial count is in: Murphy leading by 273

The count of undisputed ballots in New York's 20th Congressional District has been completed. With all ten counties reporting, Scott Murphy has expanded his lead over James Tedisco. He is up 273 votes, 79,839 to 79,566.

The outcome of the election now rests with hundreds of absentee ballots that were challenged by one or both sides during the count. Representatives of both candidates will meet in court in the coming days, and a judge will decide whether to count or throw out the ballots.

Tedisco is still petitioning for a 15-day extension to that date to allow more military ballots to be counted.

The Federal Voter Assistance Program of the Department of Defense recommends allowing 45 days from the time of sending overseas ballots to allow those ballots to be received and returned to election officials. In this case, because of the nature of the special election held in the State of New York on March 31, 2009, some counties sent their ballots out barely 18 days before the deadline, wrote Tedisco in a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, Gov. David Paterson and the state Board of Elections on Monday

205 of the 998 military ballots mailed out came back by the deadline.

The absentee count in Saratoga County was completed on Wednesday, and paper ballots showed Tedisco leading in the district's most populous county, 672 to 509.

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