N.Y. - Oops! Bad election notices will send voters to wrong polling places
The bungling Board of Elections sent notices to voters last month directing them to the wrong polling places for the next election.
Board spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez confirmed the mishap, but said she didn’t know how many errant notices were sent during the July 2 mailing. A corrected version was sent out Aug. 1.
Vazquez blamed the snafu on a tight deadline to get the mailings out. The cramped deadline was created by the recent adoption of redrawn district lines and multiple primary elections. The screwed-up notices went out to voters from 30 polling places in Queens.
While the board didn’t provide the exact number of people who got the bad mailings, at least one elected official was among them.
Queens Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley caught the error right away.
“I called up the Board of Elections because I don’t think I should be going nearly a mile away from my home to vote and they said, ‘Oh, that was a mistake,’ ” Crowley recalled. “I said, ‘Are you going to send notes to all those you sent the mistake to?’ Their answer was ‘No.’ ”
Crowley said she didn’t receive a corrected version despite the agency’s claim that she had.
The notice Crowley received directed her to vote at the Forest Park Co-Op in Woodhaven instead of her usual polling place at Public School 113, a few blocks from her home.
Voter Ingrid Yu received the same notification and only found out the information was wrong when she talked to Crowley’s office, she said. She also said she never received a corrected version.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said the bad info may have gone to hundreds of voters and that he got complaints from four different election districts.
“If we can’t even get people to the right poll site to vote, we are really up the creek,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio sent a letter to the board Thursday urging them to make sure poll workers were aware of the misinformation. He also requested that all polling places be provided with extra affidavit ballots.
“Most importantly, the Board of Elections must make sure to send correct poll site information to all voters before the general election in November,” he wrote.
The error could impact the Sept. 13 primary and comes on the heels of galling missteps that left the outcome of Rep. Charles Rangel’s June 26 primary re-election in doubt for nearly two weeks.