As voting winds down for New York in Tuesday’s primary, 125,000 Democratic voters faced some trouble casting their ballots since their names had been removed from the voter rolls. In fact, in some areas, the voting process was an absolute nightmare, with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign remarking that the whole situation was a disgrace. Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for reforms to the Board of Elections, though they contend that the situation is being overblown, as thousands on the list had either moved out of their voting precincts or failed to vote in two successive national elections (via CNN):
"From long lines and dramatic understaffing to longtime voters being forced to cast affidavit ballots and thousands of registered New Yorkers being dropped from the rolls, what's happening today is a disgrace," Sanders spokesman Karthik Ganapathy said in an email to CNN, calling the difficulties a "shameful demonstration."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Hillary Clinton supporter, called for major reforms to the Board of Elections as a series of snafus continued to bubble up, including reports of the errant "purge" in Brooklyn.
"It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists," de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday calling on the board to "reverse that purge."
"The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed," he said.
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday night, Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan pushed back against the growing criticism, saying, "We're not finding that there were issues throughout the city that are any different than what we experience in other elections."
Of the 126,000 Democratic voters taken off from the rolls in Brooklyn, Ryan said 12,000 had moved out of borough, while 44,000 more had been placed in an inactive file after mailings to their homes bounced back. An additional 70,000 were already inactive and, having failed to vote in two successive federal elections or respond to cancel notices, were removed.
The mayor’s office has called for an investigation.