Nearly 100,000 defective absentee ballots for US presidential election sent to New York City voters

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – Nearly 100,000 New York City voters received defective absentee ballots, election officials acknowledged on Tuesday (Sept 29), a massive glitch that raised doubts about the city’s ability to handle a pandemic-era presidential election with millions of mail-in ballots expected.

The problems were mostly confined to Brooklyn, where voters registered outrage and confusion after seeing that their ballots had mismatched names and addresses on the outer and inner mail-back envelopes.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who does not control the board, called its most recent failure appalling.

“I don’t know how many times we’re going to see the same thing happen at the Board of Elections and be surprised,” he said.

The faulty ballots come as President Donald Trump has made repeated baseless challenges to the accuracy and integrity of mail-in voting; by Monday evening, Mr Trump had shared four news articles on Twitter describing the absentee ballot issues in New York.

The problems in New York are yet another blemish for the New York City Board of Elections, which is run by a board of Democrats and Republicans, and has a long history of mismanaging elections.

Mr Michael Ryan, the board’s executive director, blamed the problem on the board’s vendor, Phoenix Graphics, a commercial printing company based in Rochester, New York.

The foul-up was briefly addressed on Tuesday at a Board of Elections meeting, as Mr Ryan, a Democrat, said the error was limited to “one print run”. He said the vendor would bear the cost of sending out new ballots.

Officials also encouraged voters to e-mail or call a hotline if they received an erroneous ballot. But two voters who called on Monday reported being 65th and “80-something” in line.

Mr Michael Weiss, a musician who lives in Brooklyn, said the ballot mailed to his partner had someone else’s name on it. He walked it over to the person listed on the ballot.

“She opened her mail to find another neighbour’s ballot in her envelope, which I took and hand delivered to him around the corner. Of course, he also received someone else’s ballot in the mail,” Mr Weiss said.

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