Numerous New Yorkers Impacted by 'Nightmare' Absentee Ballot Blunders


Five weeks before the election, some New York voters have reported errors in absentee ballots they received from the New York City Board of Elections.

Multiple voters in New York, many of them in Brooklyn, told Gothamist that they received a mislabeled “official absentee ballot envelope” — the envelope a voter puts their completed ballot into before signing the outside.

Voters said that they have received envelopes with the wrong name and address; if they put their own ballot in the faulty envelope, it would be voided.

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“I have heard from dozens of voters individually today, all concentrated in Brooklyn, that have received return ballot envelopes that are not in their name,” New York elections lawyer Ali Najmi told The Washington Post.

Nearly 500,000 absentee ballots had been delivered, and roughly 140,000 of them to Brooklyn residents.

A candidate for New York City Council, Crystal Hudson, said her neighbor had informed her that she received Hudson’s return envelope by mistake.

“So let’s recap — my neighbor’s wife has my absentee ballot; he has his wife’s ballot; and his is missing,” she tweeted Monday.

Actor and director Terry Kinney said he opened his absentee ballot after reading reports about the mistake and found a similar problem.

“Lo and behold – I got someone else’s ballot,” he tweeted. “Come on, this is a nightmare.”

City council member Carlina Rivera said she warned the board of elections in July that it should look at its vendors to avoid distribution errors.

“3 mos later, BOE ignored my warnings w/ disastrous results. There must be a reckoning, starting at the top,” she tweeted.

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A Board of Election spokesperson told WNBC-TV that the vendor hired to print and distribute ballots in Queens and Brooklyn was responsible for the mistake.

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“We are determining how many voters have been affected but we can assure that the vendor will address this problem in future mailings, and make sure people who received erroneous envelopes receive new ones,” the spokesperson said.

One other printing error was spotted on Monday and NYC votes reported that some residents had received ballots labeled, “Official Absentee Military ballot,” even though they are not in the military.

The voter education organization said that there usually is a slash between “absentee” and “military,” so the misprinted ballots are still valid.

The Board of Elections is asking voters who receive faulty ballots to contact them so they can make sure they receive a new ballot before the election.

Instead of waiting for a new ballot, Brooklyn resident Kabeer Malhotra told The Washington Post he will cast his ballot in person to ensure his vote is counted.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith