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More than 20% of NYC mail-in votes in Democratic presidential primary were disqualified

Tens of thousands of votes didn't count

A sign guides the way to a polling station during the New York Democratic presidential and congressional primary elections on June 23, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 1 out of every 4 mail-in ballots submitted by New York City residents in the June 23 Democratic presidential primary were not counted because they failed meet one or more submission criteria, according to the New York Post.

The city Board of Elections received over 400,000 mail-in ballots, but certified results released Wednesday revealed that only about 318,000 mail-in ballots were counted. That means about 84,000 people who attempted to vote in the primary did not get their vote counted — another example of the potential problems that could arise in November under a universal vote-by-mail system.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) facilitated the high number of mail-in ballots with an executive order expanding the practice and providing pre-paid return envelopes to make it free and easy for people to vote by mail. The result was an extremely high invalidation rate and accusations of disenfranchisement.

From the Post:

"A 26 percent invalidation rate is astounding. It's very troubling," said Arthur Schwartz, who represented several candidates in a federal lawsuit claiming voters were disenfranchised over the BOE and Postal Service's handling of ballots.

A federal judge ruled Monday that thousands of voters were disenfranchised because of the tardy mailing and processing of the ballots.

The mess included votes not being counted because the pre-paid ballot envelopes were not postmarked.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has had "deep concerns" about the Board of Elections for a while, but even after this massive failure he trusts them to do better in November when even more people could be voting by mail, because other states do it.

"I am certain they can learn from this and be prepared for the general election," de Blasio said. "Three months is a long time. There are whole states in this country that do everything with mail-in [voting] and it works perfectly well."

In Brooklyn, 30,000 out of 120,000 mail-in ballots were invalidated. In some cases, voters failed to sign the envelope properly. In other cases, the postal service failed to postmark the ballots or was simply too slow in delivering the mail.

The postal service has recently made changes to its operations to cut costs, and acknowledged at the time of those changes that they could lead to delays in mail delivery. Because the current postmaster general is an ally of President Donald Trump, Democrats have accused Trump of attempting to sabotage the election by slowing down postal service deliveries.

One last thing…
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