New York voters get wrong ballot in the mail, highlighting trouble with mail-in voting
Residents of the Bronx are calling a mistake by New York City’s election officials “appalling,” after voters received the wrong ballot in the mail, that if not caught by voters, would invalidate the vote of any citizen who uses the ballot. The mistake highlights the warnings President Trump has issued about a vote-by-mail system.
The snafu, say Bronx residents, is that the return addressee on the return envelope is not the same as the addressee to whom the ballot was sent. As a result, the signature would not match the signature on file.
“So if a voter did as instructed — filled out the ballot, signed it, placed it in the internal envelope and sent it to the Board of Elections — they would be effectively voting on behalf of someone else,” says the New York-themed online site, The City.
“These votes would ultimately be voided because the signature is matched to whatever is on file,” The City added.
“They took my information and we’re just about ready to hang up and I said, ‘What do we do here? I want to vote absentee. How do we resolve this?’ They said we’ll be in touch,” said Michael Carey, 55, of Crown Heights about his ballot.
“It’s appalling that they can make a mistake like this and so close to the election,” Carey added. “It seems like the voters are the last concern of the Board of Elections.”
The City says that in New York, the primary election was plagued by low voter turnout and by complaints about problems with absentee/mail-in ballots.
This time around, NYC’s election officials were also forced to issue a clarification for the title of the mail-in ballots, which is confusing to some voters.
The ballot is titled “Official Absentee Military Ballot.”
In the primary election, the ballot title included a slash, as in “Absentee / Military Ballot.” The omission caused some to think that they were receiving a ballot only valid for military members.
“Typically, there is a slash between the words ‘Absentee / Military’ like on the primary ballots from this June. The slash was not included this time. Though confusing, these ballots are still valid,” says the election board.
President Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of the absentee ballot system, which was originally designed to handle just a handful of ballot each election, but is inadequate to be a mail-in substitute for in-person voting in part because the system is susceptible to fraud.
“Absentee ballots, by the way, are fine,” Trump said in August. “But the universal mail-ins that are just sent all over the place, where people can grab them and grab stacks of them, and sign them and do whatever you want, that’s the thing we’re against.”
The Trump campaign is involved in a dozen lawsuits in seven states regarding the widespread adoption of absentee ballots as mail-in ballots.
PHOTO: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
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