Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top staff has launched a last-minute effort trying to stop New York City’s embattled Board of Elections from resending ballots to nearly 100,000 Brooklynites who received the wrong return envelope, The Post has learned.
The developments come just hours after BOE commissioners ordered the agency vendor that botched the initial absentee ballot mailings to resend them.
“The governor wants to take a different approach,” said Doug Kellner, the co-chairman of the state Board of Elections, who declined to elaborate further. “You’ve got to talk to the governor’s office.”
Another top state official confirmed that Cuomo’s office is pressuring the city BOE to abandon the plan.
“Late in the day, the governor’s top staff — including his top counsel — got on the phone with the Board and was pushing them not to remail ballots,” the person told The Post, adding that Cuomo’s staff was interested in a plan to just remail the envelopes, an idea the official labeled “twisted.”
“The result would be massive disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Brooklynites,” the official said.
“It would be a horrible mistake,” the person added. “It’ll be a fiasco even worse than it is.”
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie blasted the idea as word began to leak out.
“We are hearing reports that @NYGovCuomo wants to prevent the @BOENYC from rectifying the issue by stopping them from sending corrected ballots,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is straight-up disenfranchisement and an affront to our democracy. The vendor screwed up and is trying to fix it. Let them!”
Cuomo’s office claimed that the city Board of Elections was independent of their meddling, but then said that resending the ballots would be an overcorrection.
“We don’t control the board of elections but our recommendation was that sending corrected envelopes will ensure that any person that got an erroneous envelope can still vote,” said senior Cuomo adviser Richard Azzopardi. “There is nothing wrong with the actual ballots and sending 100,000 duplicate ballots seems to be an overcorrection.”
One source suggested to The Post that Cuomo was worried about the optics of the Board of Elections resending the ballots because it could potentially allow President Trump to claim New Yorkers were voting twice.
The slight risk of double voting was also brought up internally by the BOE, according to Secretary Fred Umane. But Umane said the BOE forged ahead with the decision to send new ballots with envelopes because the method outweighs what he called the small possibility of voter fraud.
Absentee ballot return envelopes are coded with the same voter ID that is kept in the poll books, making it nearly impossible for anyone to vote twice just because they got a second ballot, sources said.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article