Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.
That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district.
City election officials this week said that their formal review of the results, which will not be completed for weeks, had confirmed some major discrepancies between the vote totals reported publicly — and unofficially — on primary night and the actual tally on hundreds of voting machines across the city.
In the Harlem district, for instance, where the primary night returns suggested a 141 to 0 sweep by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the vote now stands at 261 to 136. In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.
If this recounting trend continues, it’s possible that some delegates might move from the Clinton column to the Obama column. The question is, was this discrepancy evidence of corruption? The defense leaves much to be desired, basically resting on lower level corruption.
Mr. Koenig said he seriously doubted that anything underhanded was at work because local politicians care more about elections that matter specifically to them.
“They steal votes for elections like Assembly District leader, where people have a personal stake,” he said.
If they’ll do that for themselves, why wouldn’t they do it for politicians who could end up in a position to buy them off?
If low level dishonesty doesn’t work, try incompetence.
A number of political leaders also scoffed at the possibility that local politicians, even if they considered it vital that Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton prevail in the primary, were capable of even trying to hijack such a contest.
This is New York. Someone somewhere is capable of just about anything. And some of them have a history of doing just about anything.
But Gordon J. Davis, a former New York City parks commissioner and an Obama poll watcher in the district, remained skeptical, even after being informed of the corrected count.
“First it was reported at 141 to 0, now it’s 261 to 136 in an Assembly district that went 12,000 to 8,000 for Barack,” Mr. Davis said on Friday.
“I was watching like a hawk, but how did I know the machine had a mind of its own?” he added. “And I speak as one who grew up on the South Side of Chicago where we delivered the margin of victory for John F. Kennedy at 4 in the morning.”
That speaks for itself.