Tabulation of affidavit votes under way in the undecided 63rd State Senate Democratic primary race may be giving new hope to Betty Jean Grant in her challenge to incumbent Timothy M. Kennedy.

Though Grant trailed Kennedy by 91 votes at the last official count, sources at the Erie County Board of Elections say Grant is picking up significant support from affidavit votes - those registered by voters who, for example, may show up at the wrong polling place - stemming from her home turf in the inner city.

The entire process is now under the supervision of State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia after Kennedy successfully sought the action in court.

Kennedy spokesman John Mackowiak said Thursday that the senator went to court to "make sure the vote of every eligible voter is counted fairly and efficiently."

"There will now be independent oversight," he said. "If there is a disputed ballot, it can now be laid aside."

He added that Glownia, who granted the Kennedy motion Thursday, now will be involved in deciding the status of any disputed ballot.

Elections officials say the outcome of the race could center around 410 affidavit votes that stem mostly from the inner-city portion of the district, which could theoretically favor Grant.

Board sources say they have ruled so far to this extent - Delaware: 23 affidavits received, eight ruled valid; Ellicott: 98 received, 42 valid; Fillmore: 85 received, 17 valid; Masten: 89 received, 41 valid; Niagara: 24 received, eight valid; North: 14 received, nine valid; South: 39 received, 15 valid; University: 54 received, 21 valid.

But now Kennedy has sought strict court supervision of the process that will count those votes.

A significant number of absentee ballots also remain to be counted.

Attorney Terrence M. Connors represented Kennedy in Thursday's court proceedings.