In an interesting story out of New York state, thousands of absentee ballots may be thrown out because of “postmarking” issues according to New York 1.
After more than two weeks since the New York Primary, the city Board of Elections on Wednesday finally began tallying absentee ballots. But the process does not come without controversy.
The BOE faces a snail-paced process as it deals with an unprecedented number of absentee ballots, due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 403,000 ballots. Moreover, thousands of voters may not have their mail-in ballots counted, despite meeting the June 23rd postmark deadline.
Brooklyn Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte told NY1 that many ballots might be thrown out because of the postmarking issues.
“What we found was that there were a number of ballots that were sent through the post office, but were not postmarked. In the statute, the board of elections is not to validate any absentee ballots that are not postmarked that we received after the 23rd. So that becomes the problem,” she said.
Bichotte, who has championed election reform, said that about four percent of the mail-in ballots may be thrown out.
“We still have a number of absentee ballots, roughly about four percent that might be thrown away at no fault of the voter,” Bichotte said.
Assembly Member Bichotte, who represents Brooklyn’s 42nd district, asked Governor Cuomo to issue an executive order, but problems surrounding appropriate postmark dates and legalities will prevent that from happening.
She says that an underfunded and overwhelmed United States Postal Service is partially to blame for the setback.
The postmarking matter comes as several campaigns in tight races await their final results, campaigns where progressive challengers are neck and neck with incumbents.
Bichotte, who serves as chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, says she’s happy with the rise in activism from the left.
“I’m happy that we’re witnessing a surge of interest into the Democratic Party,” she said. “I think we all are the same. We all believe the same things.”
Speaking on the tensions within the party and how she plans on managing in her new role as the Brooklyn Democratic Party chair, Bichotte said her goal is to unite.
“When I came into this role. I did not know there was a division in the north part and the south part of Brooklyn and I was just immersed in the fights between some that may be called the establishment or some that might be called the progressives and as a Democratic leader my job is to try to unify everyone as much as possible.” (source)
Now this story has nothing to do with the presidential elections, but it necessarily caught my attention because of all the shenanigans taking place right now in the current presidential election, and how while Trump is still the preferred candidate simply because Biden is completely awful, I have noted that given demographic shifts, political instability, and with that the coronavirus pandemic, plus the fact that there is a strong chance there may be a third wave of the virus this fall, the possibility of many “election shenanigans” is more real than ever before.
I have commonly cited the year 2000 elections as a precedent, and while this cannot be proven that it will happen in the future, the possibility exists. If even in a small election such as this so many problems can happen, what could the possibilities be in the event of a major COVID-19 re-outbreak (such as a second wave) with absentee ballots or other ballots?
The possibilities are endless.
I am not saying this will happen. I am saying that given the circumstances, and how chaos can ensue in a local election, the possibilities for causing havoc to a national election would not only be easy, but a perfect cover for more nefarious intentions.
If the elections are anything like the year has been so far, sit back because it will be an interesting time to watch.