New York's 'Vote Counting Debacle'

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Posted: Nov 20, 2020 2:15 PM
New York's 'Vote Counting Debacle'

Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

More than two weeks after Election Day, New York is still counting votes. The State Senate is waiting on results in key races in Hudson Valley and on Long Island and the race between Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) and Claudia Tenney, who is hoping to reclaim the seat she lost in 2018, is still too close to call, among other loose ends.

It is, to put it rather mildly, a voting debacle.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, state legislators expanded the use of absentee balloting, and over 1 million New Yorkers took advantage of it.

The pandemic forced election officials in New York to adapt on the fly as the state offered all voters the option of voting by absentee ballot in an effort to reduce crowding at polling sites because of the coronavirus. It was a major change for a state that does not have a robust vote-by-mail system like other states where voting by mail is more popular. (New York Times)

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer condemned the Board of Elections, which he says need to enter the year 2020.

"This year's delays are another example of the BOE's incompetence," Stringer said. "What was an antiquated absentee ballot process morphed into broad mail-in voting. With more than one million New Yorkers voting by absentee ballot, the review after the return process created an enormous logjam."

Some state lawmakers muse that the only reason New York has been able to avoid scrutiny is because they're not a swing state. 

"If we were a swing state in this presidential election, we would be getting ridiculed across the world right now,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said. “Florida, with all its terrible history of vote counting, manages to count votes before and on Election Day, even if they were mailed in.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris believes the answer is to allow election officials begin counting absentee ballots on Election Day, so they can certify results sooner. He introduced legislation to that effect last week.