New York's Botched Ballot Mailing, Primary Debacle Rattle Voter Confidence

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Oct 19, 2020 - 11:50 AM

Confidence in the November election has further eroded after approximately 100,000 New York ballots were sent out with the wrong names - which voters can't sign, according to Bloomberg.

Problems plagued New York City’s June 23 primary, and weeks later Board of Elections staff members were still tallying ballots. (Photo: Victor J. Blue via NYT)

"It doesn’t give you confidence this is going to be the only mistake," said former Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel, who conceded defeat following a contentious primary in which he struggled to get more mailed votes counted. "For Nov. 3, we’re urging every single person to vote early and in person. It shouldn’t be like this," he added.

According to Patel, there were 11,000 invalidated ballots, "affecting one in five mail-in voters in the district," according to the report.

In response to the botched mailing and reports of late-arriving ballots and missing postmarks during the primary, New York has relaxed procedures for vote-by-mail, which millions of residents are taking advantage of while conservatives led by President Trump have suggested the voting method enables fraud.

The changes may not be enough to meet the deluge, said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit public education organization. The state expects upwards of 5 million absentee ballots, five times the number cast during the primary and 12 times the number in the 2016 general election.

The primary not only brought to light problems with the state’s “highly technical” election process, but underscored the need for resources, Horner said, adding that counting absentee ballots is labor and time intensive. -Bloomberg

"Whether the state has adequate resources for elections, I believe is going to be the big issue as to whether New York’s elections are run in a progressive way, or turn out to be a dumpster fire," said Blair Horner.

At present, New York ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 will be counted if received by Nov. 10, while the city has added staff and added an online portal to apply for a ballot in order to reduce the backlog.

President Trump, meanwhile, highlighted New York's September mailing glitch between Patel and Democratic Rep. Carpolyn Maloney, in which Patel didn't concede until late August - saying "They have no idea what happened" during the Sept. 29 presidential debate.

In response to the controversy over the primary, Maloney told Bloomberg that "every single valid ballot" was counted, "and any suggestions to the contrary are simply designed to undermine faith in our election process. I am fully confident every valid ballot will be counted in our November election as well."

During the primary, New York City election workers couldn’t respond quickly enough to the slew of requests for mail-in ballots, said Douglas Kellner, a co-chair of the state Board of Elections and a Democrat. “Unfortunately, there were many thousands of voters who did not get their ballots in time because the system was so overwhelmed,” he said.

The bottom line is that yes, it’s a very difficult situation, but we are striving to rise to the challenge,” Kellner said.

The time given to implement all the changes has been “insufficient, frankly,” said Peter S. Kosinski, the state election board’s Republican co-chair.

Am I going to say this is going to be error free? No,” Kosinski said, adding that there’s going to be a learning curve for boards and voters alike.

“This is not a New York-centric issue as I see it,” Kosinski said. “I think it’s going on all over the country and hopefully we’ll get through this and the election will be conducted properly.” -Bloomberg

"Any time you’re changing systems, there’s a level of adaptation," said Benjamin Hovland - Chairman of the US Election Assistance Commission. "There can be learning curves, or challenges, to deal with."

Translation: prepare for a shitshow... but you already knew that.