Public confidence has collapsed in the New York City Board of Elections, and the most powerful Federal prosecutor with jurisdiction over voting rights looks the other way from allegations of voter suppression.
By Progress New York Staff
Amidst the third day of early voting in New York City — the first time that the New York City Board of Elections has tried this out prior to the November election of the President of the United States — reports have revealed renewed complaints made by voters of hours-long waits to get a chance to complete and cast their ballots. As reported by the New York Post, the wait to get into Madison Square Garden, a polling site for early voting, exceeded an hour on Monday morning.
After three days in a row of hours-long waits, the political response was predictably the same following past experiences with voter disenfranchisement at the hands of the troubled Municipal elections regulatory authority : both Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) disowned the mess. Mayor de Blasio claimed that the Board of Elections just required more staff and scanning machines, whereas Gov. Cuomo said that the Government of the City of New York needed to propose changes to the Board of Elections, deflecting all blame, according to various reports.
Joining in the sprint from responsibility is Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, the top Federal prosecutor in charge of prosecuting violations of civil rights, like voting rights. The press office supporting Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss did not answer a press inquiry about a bombshell report published early Monday by the New York Times, alleging election irregularities.
Is there a pattern or practise of voter suppression by the New York City Board of Elections ?
As noted by Progress New York, the Board of Elections has been accused of denying in-person voters the full ballot or informing registered Democratic Party voters that they could not vote in the Democratic Party primary last June. After the June primary, the Board of Elections disqualified hundreds of absentee ballots. During the early voting period leading up to the June primary, voters were also reportedly hampered by polling places located in disparate locations in some election districts.
In the lead up to this year’s November general election, the Board of Elections, through a no-bid contract vendor, mailed almost 100,000 incorrect absentee ballots to voters, causing mass confusion and undermining confidence in the Board of Elections, according to a report published by the New York Times. In 2018, voters again were forced to wait hours in line to cast their votes, and, in 2016, the Board of Elections unlawfully purged approx. 200,000 voters from their rolls that triggered litigation that forced the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn and the Office of the New York State Attorney General to join as intervenors, winning a legal settlement, according to a report published at that time then by the Daily News.
In the 2017 November general election, it was noticed that 10 per cent. of voters, who cast ballots within the election districts that comprised District 3 of the New York City Council, had unrecorded votes for the City Council race that year, according to the records of the Board of Elections. In 2000, hundreds of ballots were found in an air conditioning duct at the Board of Elections that could have decided a New York State Senate race, according to revelations made in the bombshell New York Times report.
Despite countless election scandals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan resists intervention in the matters of the Board of Elections for unknown reasons.
- Inside Decades of Nepotism and Bungling at the N.Y.C. Elections Board [The New York Times]
- As the Board of Elections tosses absentee ballots, a signaling that the Feds may countenance voter disenfranchisement [Progress New York]
- With DOJ proposing to join lawsuit over voting rolls purge in Brooklyn, will Feds probe deeper ? (2017) [Progress Queens]