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NYC absentee ballot mess does not bode well for November election

Woman filling out a ballot
Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 11:36:23-04

NEW YORK — The New York City Board of Elections has only received back about about a third of absentee ballots it sent out for the June 23 primary election. The new numbers come amid reports of ballots being sent too late or not at all.

The Board of Elections' own June 29 report on absentee-ballot voting paints the disturbing picture about the state of voting during the pandemic.

Only 37%, or 289,000, of the approximately 777,000 ballots mailed out have been returned. Tuesday, June 30, is the last day the BOE will accept ballots that were post-marked by Election Day.

But Monday evening, the NYC BOE extended some of those deadlines, including absentee ballot counting. Counting absentee ballots for Staten Island will be delayed until July 6, and the rest of the city will be delayed until July 8.

Reports of absentee ballots not being returned is particularly concerning when looking at close races.

There are more than 14,000 outstanding ballots in New York’s 16th Congressional District in the Bronx and Westchester, where educator Jamaal Bowman seems poised to unseat longtime Congressman Eliot Engel.

In the Bronx’s 15th Congressional District Councilman Ritchie Torres has a lead of more than 5,000 votes over his next closest challenger. However, more than 30,000 ballots remain outstanding.

The closest congressional race in the city is in Manhattan and Queens where congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is only narrowly holding off challenger Suraj Patel. About 56,000 absentee ballots have yet to be received and counted. Moreover, it’s unclear why the absentee ballots already received do not appear to have been counted.

In the NY-12 race, 39,635 votes have been counted including thousands of in-person votes, but the BOE has already received more than that amount, about 39,700, by mail.

NYC BOE’s next absentee ballot report is due Thursday, July 2.

Head here to see the current raw data provided by the Board.