Mismarked absentee ballots in NYC lead to ‘mass confusion,’ official says
New York City voters who planned to vote by mail in November’s election are worried their votes will be invalid after residents in two boroughs have complained that their absentee ballots are mismarked.
Brooklyn voters have received ballots bearing someone else’s name and address on the accompanying return envelope, while residents of both Brooklyn and Queens received ballots incorrectly marked as military ballots, according to local reports.
“There’s just mass confusion about these ballots and what people are supposed to do with them,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told the New York Post in reference to the military ballots.
Those ballots read “Official Absentee Military Ballot,” but a Board of Elections spokesperson confirmed to the Post that it was supposed to say “Absentee–Military” but the dash was mistakenly omitted.
More than half a million ballots have already gone out to voters but the Elections Board did not know how many had the error, the Post reported. The spokesperson said the ballots will be counted, but Van Bramer criticized the board for causing panic.
“This apparent typo just has everyone confused and believing these are invalid ballots,” Van Bramer said. “It’s absolutely outrageous that when everyone is watching them, they still screw up the most basic thing, which is printing the ballot correctly.”
A separate problem that Brooklyn voters noticed appears to be far more serious. Residents in several neighborhoods reported receiving absentee ballots bearing the wrong name and address on the accompanying return envelope meant for returning the completed ballot, according to Gothamist.
If a voter’s signature on their ballot does not match the name on the envelope, their vote could be deemed invalid.
New York City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan told Fox News that the printing errors were made by third-party vendor Phoenix Graphics.
“We are determining how many voters have been affected but we can assure that the vendor will addresses this problem in future mailings, and make sure people who received erroneous envelopes receive new ones,” Ryan said in a statement through a spokesperson. “We will ensure on behalf of the voters in Brooklyn that the proper ballots and ballot envelopes are in the hands of the voters in advance of Election Day so they can vote.”
Fox News reached out to Phoenix Graphics for comment but they have not responded.
The Board of Elections tweeted Sunday evening that voters who received the wrong envelope should contact them via direct message, email or phone.
Voters worried about their absentee ballots still have the opportunity to vote in person.
Opponents of large-scale mail-in voting have expressed a number of concerns, including problems some states could face from the lack of pre-existing infrastructure for handling a system of voting that could be drastically different from years past.