After wins for Hillary and Trump in yesterday’s primary and a number of complaints from voters, including Martha Stewart, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that his office is conducting an investigation into the New York City Board of Elections.
“By most accounts, voters cast their ballots smoothly and successfully. However, I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s hotline, which received more than one thousand complaints in the course of the day yesterday,” Schneiderman said in a statement released this afternoon. “That’s why today, we have opened an investigation into alleged improprieties in yesterday’s voting by the New York City Board of Elections.”
After reports of difficulties voting began bubbling up on social media, Gawker issued a call for stories from readers about problems at the polls. While many responded to say that voting went perfectly smoothly, roughly 20 gave some version of the same story: despite having registered to vote, either during this election cycle or in the past, workers were not able to find their names in the poll books, and they were asked to vote by affidavit instead of with a traditional ballot.
Chavisa in Bushwick wrote:
I have voted in the same spot in Bushwick for the last five years. I have been registered as a Democrat because of closed primaries in a New York for more than 10 years. I have voted in almost all of the primaries and general elections. Over the last month, I have double and triple checked that I was registered and that I knew my polling place. Everything has seemed to be in good order. I was even registered in the online system. I triple checked it as recently as two weeks ago. When I came to my polling place today, they said that they didn’t have my name in their book. They couldn’t explain why. I got to vote with an affidavit ballot and they said that it should still count (should!) . But then I was told by another person that I will only be counted if it needs to be or if it comes down to it. I really have no idea how or why this could have happened.
Will, another Brooklyn voter:
Even though I have been a registered Democratic voter in NYC for years, and voted in the last mayoral primary and general election in 2013, my name was not on the rolls in my election district this morning. My girlfriend who shares my apartment has the same voting history as I do, and her name was on the rolls.
I was forced to vote by affidavit, but I am concerned my vote won’t be counted. And there is no reason why my name should have been dropped from the rolls.
I called the Attorney General’s office and they looked me up, found my registration was there but had been listed as inactive, and assured me that my affidavit would be counted, but that’s not super reassuring, especially in what might be a close race called today...
Luckily I work close to the seat of Brooklyn governance and was able to secure a court order from the Bureau of Elections office allowing me to cast my ballot today by machine.
Katherine in the Upper West Side:
I had the worst time this AM at the UWS 73rd street voting location! Even though I haven’t moved in 4 years and voted in that very location in 2012, I was not on the signature sheet, and after about 45 minutes of finagling I had to fill out an affidavit, re-register to vote (even though I AM in the database of registered voters), and seal up my ballot in an envelope. I’m not entirely convinced it’s even going to be counted. Frustrating!
Though the Attorney General’s probe will focus specifically on New York City, Schneiderman’s statement left open the possibility of “inquiries into additional areas of the State” if necessary. The majority of complaints Gawker received came from within the five boroughs, with only a small handful arriving from Long Island and upstate.