President Donald Trump was already critical and skeptical of mail-in voting.
Now, New York City’s fumbled handling of its record volume of absentee ballots has given Trump what he sees as evidence that the process isn't legitimate.
What You Need To Know
- Critics note the invalidation of tens of thousands of votes during process
- Candidates fear Trump could cite NYC primaries as reasons mail-in votes can't be trusted
- Calls intensify for reforms of absentee-voting process before November elections
“Rigged Election, and EVERYONE knows it!” he tweeted over the weekend, citing a news story on the city’s absentee ballot woes.
“It talks about the dark omen for November and the absolute catastrophe in New York City," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said last week. “And, in fact, what they found is 19 percent of ballots have been rejected in Queens, 28 percent rejected in Brooklyn. There are questions about mail, mass mail-out voting.”
McEnany cited ballot invalidation rates in the district where the primary between Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Suraj Patel isn't yet decided.
It’s now five weeks after Primary Day, and the city still hasn’t completed its count of paper ballots.
More distressing are those whose votes won’t count because they received their ballot late, because they didn’t sign it, or because it wasn’t postmarked.
To say it doesn’t bode well for the general election is an understatement.
“In this environment and moment where we talk about how our ancestors bled and died for us to vote, thousands — tens of thousands of New Yorkers right now — do not know if their vote has been counted," said State Assemblyman Michael Blake, a candidate for a House seat in the Bronx.
Blake has yet to concede though Ritchie Torres has declared victory.
The absentee ballot count has widened Torres’s lead to at least 7,800 votes — higher than what Torres said is about 4,000 tossed ballots in their district.
Similarly, Maloney increased her lead over Patel to at least 3,300 votes through absentee ballots.
Patel has cited 12,500 invalidated votes in their district.
“If we can’t get this right as Democrats in New York, then just think about what Trump and red-state governors are going to do when partisanship and control of the House and of course the presidency hang in the balance," Patel said.
State lawmakers last week passed some changes to how elections are conducted, including expanding absentee balloting for the general election.
And Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said “Any reforms we can make for November, we will.”
Main story file image: Hans Pennink/AP.
Looking for an easy way to learn about the issues affecting New York City?