Bernie Sanders’ campaign says it is “deeply disturbed” by reports of long lines and voting issues in New York’s presidential primary on Tuesday.
Wall Street Journal was among many news outlets that reported widespread voting irregularities in the New York primary, citing an example of it taking a Brooklyn man three hours to vote, despite showing up early in the morning when the polls first opened.
New York Daily News also said that New York voters “found broken machines, locked doors and poorly trained election workers,” when they went to the polls early Tuesday morning.
In addition, controversy erupted in Kings County, the most populous county in New York state and the home of Brooklyn, after tens of thousands of registered Democrats were removed from the county’s voter rolls over a period of five months, from November 2015 to April 2016. Initial reports claimed 63,000 had been removed, but U.S. Uncut cited a new investigation by WNYC saying the number may be as high as 126,000 Democratic voters purged, which would account for a 14 percent drop in registered Democrats.
The situation became severe enough that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded an explanation from the Board of Elections as to why there was such an alarming drop just before the date of the primary.
“This number surprises me,” de Blasio told WNYC. “I admit that Brooklyn has had a lot of transient population – that’s obvious. Lot of people moving in, lot of people moving out. That might account for some of it. But I’m confused since so many people have moved in, that the number would move that much in the negative direction.”
This is especially disturbing given the enormous importance of the New York primary in deciding who runs for the office of the president on the Democratic ticket. Philly Voice reported the contentious election over New York state, which is an invaluable win in the race for the Democratic nomination.
“The fight for New York’s delegate haul has consumed the presidential contenders for two weeks, an eternity in the fast-moving White House race. Candidates blanketed every corner of New York, bidding for votes from Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs to the working class cities and rural enclaves that dot the rest of the state.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced late Tuesday that his office will commission an audit of the city’s Board of Elections in response to the widespread reports of voting irregularities, according to U.S. News.
A petition, which currently has almost 28,000 signatures, has also been launched demanding a full audit of the purge in Kings County and to publish the results of the audit online.
Out of all 62 counties in the Empire State, all but seven saw increased Democratic voter registration in the past six months, according to WYNC, and “no city or state election official could explain to WNYC why the number had dropped in a borough that’s been a hotbed of campaign activity, and has the highest population in the state.”
Kings County is not alone in this mysterious purge of registered Democratic voters, however. Erie County, home of the major city of Buffalo, had roughly 3,000 fewer registered Democrat voters, and Bronx County lost roughly 5,000. But the violent drop in Kings County is by far the largest.
The disappearance of Democratic voters from the rolls in New York is only the latest in a long series of irregularities, as U.S. Uncut reported.
“Last week, the New York State Board of Elections mailed absentee ballots with inaccurate information to voters, forcing them to issue another mailing at the cost of taxpayers to correct its mistake. And last month, the Board mailed forms to newly-registered voters that incorrectly listed the date of the primary as September 13, 2016, rather than today.”
Hillary Clinton has 1,758 delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 1,076, including both delegates and pledged superdelegates.
New York is a major battlefield for the Democratic nomination for president — Brooklyn is the home of Bernie Sanders and the political headquarters of Clinton’s campaign. Clinton holds a lead in delegates, but a strong showing of votes for Sanders in the state would severely undermine the former secretary of state’s bid for the nomination.
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