‘Perfect Example of What Not to Do’: Dem Rep. ‘Ashamed’ of New York’s Electoral Disfunction

Elissa Slotkin during an interview at her campaign office in Lansing, during the midterm elections, Michigan, U.S., November 6, 2018. (Jeff Kowalsky/Reuters)

Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin delivered a scathing critique of the way members of her party ran the primary elections this year in New York, saying the state’s botched election process is “the perfect example of what not to do.”

“I’m ashamed of New York state,” Slotkin said in an interview with Politico. “And I don’t know what the heck went on there, but they should be ashamed of themselves. And that’s the Democrats who control that city and state. They took almost two months to determine who won certain primary races in that state.”

New York state sent out an unprecedented number of absentee ballots for the state’s primary on June 23 as more voters opted to vote remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. In New York City, that resulted in a deluge of 400,000 mail-in ballots, ten times more than were returned in recent elections, which overwhelmed local election boards.

Nearly six weeks later, two congressional races were still undecided.

In late July, weeks after the primary, President Trump, who has claimed repeatedly that widespread voting by mail could result in election fraud, tweeted that mail-in voting in New York was in a “disastrous state of condition” and that the “same thing would happen, but on massive scale” in a general election.

Slotkin, a former CIA analyst who represents Michigan’s 8th congressional district just northwest of Detroit, said New York’s failures during the primaries strengthens her concerns about the confusion that could ensue following the general election, which is less than two weeks away.

“While New York is not going to go for Trump, he’s been talking about New York because it provides a fertile example of problems in the country,” Slotkin said. “We obviously have all these anecdotes that he’s collecting, and the truth is, legitimate or illegitimate, I think one of the president’s strategies is going to be to protest the results in certain key counties in certain key states. I can game it out for you.”

“I think about how our vulnerability the first week after the election is really high; Michigan has already announced we likely won’t know results until that Friday. I think other states are worse off than us by a long shot, and peoples’ tensions will be high,” Slotkin added.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the Bronx and Queens, both rebuked city election officials over long lines at early voting sites for the general election.

“Right now we’ve got a problem. The Board of Elections was clearly not prepared for this kind of turnout, and needs to make adjustments immediately,” de Blasio said.

“There is no place in the United States of America where two, three, four hour waits to vote is acceptable,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding that, “just because it’s happening in a blue state doesn’t mean that it’s not voter suppression.”

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