New Yorkers Are Mad As Hell About The Primary — And It Has Nothing To Do With Donald Trump
Hell hath no fury like a New Yorker who can't vote. On Tuesday, New Yorkers hit the polls to vote in the state's primary, but many parts of the democratic process might have been going awry. Enraged residents have taken to social media with allegations of broken ballot scanners, missing registered voters' names in district books, and polling delays. Considering how much time and energy candidates in both parties have spent battling to snag delegates in New York, it's hard to think of a worse state for this to happen to. Then again, I want voting to be as smoothly as possible in every state.
And for the record, voting hasn't always gone smoothly this election season. In February, the Nevada Caucus received complaints that ID's weren't always checked and that there was a shortage of ballots at some sites, among other general disorganization. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Arizona's Maricopa County Recorder's Office for its handling of the state's primary in March.
Still, the increasing social media attention paid to New York City's voting problems may not be unwarranted, especially when it comes to voting in Brooklyn. Many of the irate voters taking to the web claim to come from Brooklyn, where over 60,000 active registered Democrats were also dropped recently from its voters roll. To be clear, that doesn't prove that anything underhanded or illegal occurred. “People die every day and they come off the list,” New York City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan told WNYC, “New York City is a very transient place to live. People move all the time.”
Still, as WNYC's analysis noted, Brooklyn stands out because "no other borough in New York City nor county in the rest of the state saw such a significant decline in active registered Democrats. In fact, only seven of the state's 62 counties saw a drop in the number of Democrats." The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the New York City Board of Elections actually confirmed that more than 125,000 voters had been removed from voter rolls for Brooklyn. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced on the New York City Board of Elections would be audited — a move that Mayor Bill de Blasio supported in a public statement:
It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists ... The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed.
It's not like things were necessarily running like clockwork in boroughs other than Brooklyn, though. Jose Ruiz, the Board of Election polling site coordinator for I.S. 222 in Jackson Heights in Queens, told Gothamist that of the people who'd shown up to vote, "I'd say 30 percent are not registered, even though they thought they were."
Bustle reached out to the New York State Board of Elections' Voting Operations office for comment on these allegations, but did not receive a response. A spokesperson for the State Board of Elections' Public Information office was unavailable at the time of writing.
From the very start of the day, there were claims of long lines and delays as polling stations did not open on time. Frustrated New Yorkers claimed to have stood in line for hours.
Then, when voters finally got to their polling stations, others claimed they discovered broken ballot scanners.
Some New Yorkers also claim that although they were registered voters, their names were missing from polling books, and they had to settle with affidavit ballots.
The allegations compound other New York voting fiascoes. On Monday, hundreds of New Yorkers filed a lawsuit against the state, seeking to open its closed primary after claiming their party affiliations were mysteriously changed. Smaller gaffes include mailing voters reminders with the wrong primary date and absentee ballots with errors. Still, when Ryan was approached by The New York Times on Tuesday, he defended the city's voting operations: “We’re not seeing anything that is so wildly out of the ordinary as to cause me to be tremendously concerned that there are widespread problems, because there certainly are not ... We understand that the eyes and ears of the world are truly on New York City today, and it’s understandable."