NYC Board of Elections scrambling to fix ballot error

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NEW YORK — The New York City Board of Elections acknowledges some issues with absentee ballots, particularly those sent out to Brooklyn voters.

During a commissioner’s weekly meeting, Executive Director Michael Ryan blamed the issue on a private vendor and said it only impacted on print run. Despite saying the problem has been addressed moving forward, Ryan added their vendor would re-print and again mail out those absentee ballots to all Brooklyn residents who requested one.

Additionally, a special insert will be included this time around explaining to voters why they were receiving another ballot and language to make it clear the new ballots were a re-print. Ryan said outreach would also take place through social media, e-mail addresses and phone numbers on file.

While this focus is on one borough, some residents in Queens have brought forth another issue. One 73-year-old, Robert Mintz, is among a growing number of New Yorkers in Queens who said they received a ballot indicating it is for a member of the military.

The NYC Board of Elections said this too was a printing error caused by the same vendor, but added the ballot is good to use even if you are not a member of the military.

“In a contentious election with clouds over balloting process to me this was a red flag. What used to be a very straightforward process facilitated for me now becomes fraught with anxiety,” said Mintz, who will now vote in person.

The city’s Board of Elections under fire from all sides it seems. Even President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter, re-tweeting an article critical of the city’s absentee ballot voting process.

Mayor de Blasio said today, “Our problem isn’t Donald Trump. Our problem is the Board of Elections consistently fails the people it’s supposed to serve.”

Common Cause New York, a watchdog agency monitoring the chaos believes there is time to fix the problem and pointing fingers should be saved for after the election.

“It is s ridiculous problem, but it is containable and fixable. The time to talk about how to fix it is not the time we are in the pressure cooker of the election season,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

Some key points to remember are as follows:

  • Most ballots should go out with one Forever stamp.
  • If you live in Queens, however, you have a larger ballot and will require two stamps.
  • If you’re uncertain about mailing in your absentee ballots, you can also drop the ballot off in person at any New York City Board Of Elections office. Any polling location will also accept the ballots during the early voting period or on Election Day.
  • Issues with ballots should still be reported in to 1-866-VOTE NYC and/or send an email to Apply4absentee@boe.nyc

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