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NYC to Replace Ballots for About 100,000 People in Brooklyn

Keshia Clukey and Henry Goldman
·2 mins read

(Bloomberg) -- New York City will resend absentee ballots to about 100,000 people in Brooklyn who got return envelopes printed with the wrong names.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the situation was “appalling” and called on the city Board of Elections to fix the problem immediately. The mistake marred the beginning of the state’s early voting and gave President Donald Trump fresh material to continue his attack on mail-in balloting. He retweeted stories and comments about the Brooklyn foul-up.

“The Board of Elections simply has to identify every one of these mistakes and alert the voter and send them a new ballot immediately,” de Blasio said Tuesday at a news briefing. “Look, it’s 35 days to the election. Thank God, there’s time. But this kind of thing really frustrates voters, and this is the most important election in our lifetime.”

State Senate Elections Chairman Senator Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat whose district includes a range of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, said it appears to have been a software error, that was caught early enough to be rectified. The vendor will be sending every single affected voter a second ballot that is clearly marked as such and the Board of Elections will also be inserting a letter that will communicate why the second ballot is coming, he said.

“As we are told, this is a problem that should be fixed rather quickly,” he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office reached out the State Board of Elections, an independent entity, and asked them to help correct the problem, according to Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor. “To say that we’re troubled by this is the understatement of the year,” she said at an unrelated news briefing in Manhattan.

Two issues caused confusion. First, the ballot said “military absentee ballot,” when it should have said “military/absentee” ballot, DeRosa said. The second issue was caused by the company that printed the ballots, which sent the wrong envelope with the correct ballots, she said.

Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the state Board of Elections, said Phoenix Graphics printed so-called “oath envelopes” included in the absentee ballot packages that were out of sync with the names of the voter to whom the package was addressed.

City Board of Elections Executive Director Mike Ryan announced at a meeting Tuesday that the board would resend ballots to each of the affected voters, Kellner said.

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