New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that he will investigate the city Board of Elections in the wake of yesterday's messy primary. He joins Comptroller Scott Stringer and Mayor de Blasio in demanding answers and reforms from the NYC BOE.
"I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office's voter hotline, which received more than 1,000 complaints in the course of the day yesterday," Schneiderman said in a statement. "That's why today, we have opened an investigation into alleged improprieties in yesterday's voting by the New York City Board of Elections."
Those alleged improprieties are numerous, from tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents finding they'd been purged from voter rolls, to missing voter registration books and malfunctioning ballot scanners. You can read our roundup of the worst problems voters encountered here.
Schneiderman's investigation will focus specifically on the NYC BOE, but he said that he will open it up to other areas of the state if it appears that there were high instances of irregularities elsewhere.
"Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and if any New Yorker was illegally prevented from voting, I will do everything in my power to make their vote count and ensure that it never happens again," he said.
Meanwhile, Stringer will audit the board, and has demanded to know how it plans to avoid such problems in the future—and why they occurred in the first place. In a statement yesterday, de Blasio spoke specifically about the Brooklyn branch of the BOE, and said that errors made by that office "indicate that additional major reforms will be needed to the Board of Election and in the state law governing it." At the Brooklyn office yesterday, a "nonstop" stream of frustrated voters begged judges to give them a court order allowing them to vote.
The board has yet to provide a full explanation as to why over 120,000 Brooklyn Democrats were removed from voter rolls ahead of yesterday's primary, and yesterday, executive director Michael Ryan characterized the day's issues as "what we typically see during elections."
The BOE did not respond to our request for comment.