The Corner


New York City’s Vote-Counting System Is an Embarrassment

Voters at the polling station in PS 250 during the New York City primary mayoral election in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 22, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

If you choose to vote absentee in an election, when should your mail-in absentee ballot be required to arrive in order to be counted?

New York City Democrats went to their polling places to fill out their ranked-choice ballots a week ago, June 22. Absentee ballots were required to be postmarked by June 22, or brought to a polling site by that date.

A week has passed. And yet, today’s New York Times reports, “As of Monday, there were around 124,000 outstanding Democratic absentee ballots that had not been counted, and more might still trickle in until the deadline on Tuesday.” Are these folks who requested an absentee ballot and never got around to mailing it in? If not, just how bad is the mail service in New York City? (It must be Newman’s fault.)

Wait, it gets worse. The city board of elections won’t even get the ranked-choice voting process complete until mid-July!

The Board of Elections is confident that it will be able to certify the results of the entire election, including ranked-choice voting contests and non-ranked contests like races for district attorney and judges, starting the week of July 12.

Under changes to election rules that were passed last year, voters are allowed to “cure” or correct errors with mail-in ballot envelopes that might prevent their ballots from being counted. The deadline for receiving cured ballots is July 9.

After the board receives those ballots, they will run the ranked-choice voting software again the week of July 12. The results will be used to create the official report for certification.

The city votes on June 22, and the election board hopes to have final results by the week of July 12? What, are they counting the results on an abacus? The longer a vote count goes on, the more people will start to suspect shenanigans.

“Vote, and we will let you know who won in three weeks” is the kind of performance that even Palm Beach County election officials would find laughable.


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