Maintain integrity, trust in our local elections
Jul 01, 2020 | 3407 views | 0 0 comments | 350 350 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On June 23, New York’s primary elections, voters encountered a litany of problems at the voting booth.

There were multiple reports that some polling sites opened later than 6 a.m., largely due to the overnight subway closures, which prevented workers from arriving on time.

Others complained that regular polling sites were switched due to the ongoing pandemic, but voters were not informed in a timely manner.

Another common problem was that some voters only received one ballot, despite the fact that there were both presidential and state and local races going.

Before voters even went to cast their vote in person, more than 765,000 people requested absentee ballots, a tremendous number due to the pandemic.

However, many voters did not receive them in time for the election, and chose to vote in person instead. For example, according to data from the city’s Board of Elections, only 9 percent of Brooklyn voters returned their requested absentee ballots.

With so many absentee ballots left to be counted, a number of close primary races are still up in the air.

In the 12th Congressional District, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney maintains a 648-vote lead over challenger Suraj Patel. According to reports, Patel’s campaign has filed a lawsuit asking the courts to supervise the counting of absentee ballots.

Similarly, in the 50th Assembly District, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol is holding a 1,763-vote lead over challenger Emily Gallagher. However, Gallagher’s campaign has also filed a legal action in Brooklyn Supreme Court to monitor absentee ballot counting.

With an unprecedented number of absentee ballots to be counted, this process could take weeks. Campaigns are already lining up volunteers to observe the process.

This recalls last year’s Queens district attorney’s race, where Melinda Katz defeated Tiffany Caban by a slim margin of 55 votes after the recount and court challenge. That process was long and arduous, but may end up looking relatively simple compared to the challenge this year.

With multiple primary races on the line, the Board of Elections must do their best to ensure the process is transparent and fair.

With the public health, economic and racial injustice crises happening simultaneously, the last thing this city needs is a crisis in our elections and the democratic process.
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