Irregularities At Poll Sites Across Brooklyn

BROOKLYN – Primary elections are today! Like we wrote yesterday, the Primary is the election that truly matters, particularly in this borough. Primaries are also notorious for low turnout, and this year matters are further complicated by the current pandemic restrictions and the fact that many of those who requested absentee ballots are yet to receive them. It looks like it will take a good while to tally up what could be close races in some districts.

But with elections, come irregularities in the poll sites. We’ve been hearing about a lot of things going wrong. If you have any issues at the polls while casting your ballot, contact the NYS Attorney General Election Protection Hotline at 1-800-771-7755. You can also call 866-OURVOTE to speak with a trained volunteer about voting questions or issues.

To begin, many neighbors said they won’t be voting today because they never received their absentee ballot, despite requesting it weeks ago. In turns out, the vote-by-mail ballot requests had overwhelmed the NYC Elections Agency.

“More than 29,000 residents of New York City who requested a ballot have yet to receive a ballot or envelope from the city’s Board of Elections with three days left before primary elections on Tuesday,” the NY Times reported. 

“So I never receive my ballot. I am not in the city near my polling place so voting in person is not an option. This is disenfranchising us and it’s impinging on my constitutional rights,” Noah Price, a neighbor, told us this morning. “Your records state that it was just mailed yesterday. and it sent out from a 3rd party contractor. This contractor needs to be fired and not paid. This is completely unacceptable. You need to push the date back for mail-in ballots. Did you get the memo about the pandemic? It’s time to make an exception.”

Elizabeth Starace, a neighbor from Dyker Heights, also was not able to vote.

“I really wanted to vote because that’s like one of the most important ways of actually changing things in this country,” they said. “So, it’s really fucked up that I didn’t get my absentee ballot and couldn’t vote. Elections have always been controversial in terms of accessibility and this just multiplied that issue. In my opinion, it’s absolutely inexcusable that so many people’s voices were muted because we didn’t get our absentee ballots.”

“I was fortunate enough to receive my absentee ballot a week in advance, but I know that wasn’t the case for everyone. I understand that due to the pandemic, there was a huge surge in demand for absentee ballots, which really would only lead to disaster, but perhaps there needs to be even greater flexibility in terms of the deadline for absentee ballots to be postmarked and/or received by the Board of Elections,” Sandy Mui, a Bensonhurst resident, told us. “It was shocking to me that even when news circulated that a percentage of the population — albeit small– did not receive their absentee ballots yet, the deadline for the absentee ballots to be returned was not further extended.”

“I read that those who haven’t received their absentee ballots can still vote in-person at their local poll sites,” Mui continued. “But the whole point of applying to vote via an absentee ballot was so that they wouldn’t have to go vote in-person. Expecting all of the people –who haven’t gotten their absentee ballots– to vote in-person on the day of, would be wishful thinking.”

Some ballots in several polling sites didn’t even have congressional candidates– the only thing on the ballot were the presidential candidates.

Some voters were only getting one sheet of paper and were being told there were no local primaries.

“We are hearing from voters at PS 22 in Brooklyn that they were handed a misprinted ballot without the Congressional race on the ballot,” Isiah James’ (who is running to unseat Rep. Yvette Clarke) campaign emailed this morning. “They are waiting (and have been for an hour) at the polling place while the BOE searches for the correct ballots. Per the voter, many people have voted without the polling site having handed out the proper ballot.”

His campaign also sent out another email saying, “We’ve just heard that no one has a key to unlock the scanners at the polling site located at Success Academy, 72 Veronica Place. The site coordinator was reportedly on the phone trying to solve the issue, but they didn’t get it resolved. All voters at that site are instead being offered affidavits.”

If you experienced any irregularities, email us at editor@bklyner.com.

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Zainab Iqbal

Zainab is a staff reporter at Bklyner who sometimes writes poetry in her free time || zainab@bklyner.com

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