Attorney General opens investigation into NYC Board of Elections voting issues

NYC Board of Elections official suspended amid voting issues
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NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that his office has opened an investigation into the problems voters faced Tuesday in the New York primary.

“Yesterday New Yorkers turned out in impressively high numbers to vote for the nominees in their respective parties,” said Schneiderman in a statement.

While many voters successfully cast their ballot, thousands were turned away after waiting hours to support their candidate.

“I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s voter hotline,” said Schneiderman.

Between 6 a.m., and 3:50 p.m., Tuesday, the attorney general’s office received 562 calls and approximately 140 emails with complaints to the voter hotline. That’s a 368 percent increase in complaints from the 2012 general election.

The most common complaint was from people showing up to cast their ballot and being told they are not registered to vote. The second most common complaint was from registered voters who were told they are not registered with a political party and therefore could not vote in the primary of their choice.

“This is by far the largest volume of complaints we have received for an election since Attorney General Schneiderman took office in 2011,” Schneiderman’s office said in a statement Tuesday.

Brooklyn voters lodged the most complaints in any of the five boroughs. Tens of thousands of voters were turned away as they had been “purged” from registration lists.

There were allegations that entire buildings and blocks in Kings County were purged from voting lists, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday.

Schneiderman said these irregularities prompted them to open an investigation into the alleged improprieties in Tuesday’s voting by the New York City Board of Elections.

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Schneiderman. “If any New Yorker was illegally prevented from voting, I will do everything in my power to make their vote count and ensure that it never happens again.”

Comptroller Scott Stringer announced Tuesday that his office would be investigating the city’s election process as well.

“My office will be auditing the management and operations of the Board of Elections in order to identify failings and make recommendations to improve performance,” Stringer said Tuesday.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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