NYC struggles to fix their mail-in ballot fiasco

This is a followup to the story that Ed covered earlier this week. A vendor who was contracted to print and mail out absentee ballots to virtually everyone in Brooklyn and Queens who requested one sent them out with incorrect return addresses on the envelopes included with the ballots. And we’re not just talking about a few of them. Nearly 100,000 of the ballots were already on the streets before anyone noticed the error. And as we’ll discuss in a moment, this problem is showing up in other states as well.

Now the cleanup work for this debacle is underway. A fresh set of documents, allegedly with the correct information on the envelopes is being sent out to the same list of voters. But that leaves several questions unanswered, including what’s going to happen to the people who already mailed theirs in without noticing the mistake? (Free Beacon)

One Brooklyn voter told CNN he fears the mistake could lead to somebody else casting a vote in his name.

“Presumably, someone out there has an envelope with my name on it, and if they don’t read the ballot as closely as I did, they could cast a vote in my name,” Anders Kapur said.

Absentee voters in New York are required to enclose their ballots within an “oath envelope,” which includes the voter’s name, address, and voter ID, before mailing them back to be counted. CNN said it was unclear if any of the ballots or envelopes had been returned to the elections board.

This is the second time New York City’s board of elections has flubbed mail-in voting in Brooklyn. One in four ballots cast for one Brooklyn primary in June were found to be invalid.

One election official said that they had no way of knowing how many (if any) of the flawed envelopes had been sent in already. Discussions were allegedly underway to see if some “accommodation” could be made for such voters if they failed to notice the error and used the envelopes anyway. But how would such an accommodation work? The ballot is either spoiled or it isn’t, regardless of whose fault it was. If they start accepting spoiled ballots, they’re violating state election laws.

Even worse, imagine the confusion that will arise when people who have already sent in their ballots receive a new one in the mail. We’re not even talking about voter fraud here. This is just a case of massive incompetence and potentially innocent misunderstandings on the part of the public. If someone learns that the original ballot they sent in was spoiled and they then send in a second one, the possibility clearly exists that they might wind up voting twice if an “accommodation” is made for the first ballot. At that point, the election results for those districts all have an asterisk next to them going forward.

As I mentioned at the top, it’s not just New York City that’s experiencing these headaches. As Fox News reported yesterday, more than 1,000 voters in Virginia who requested absentee ballots received two of them in the mail. But don’t worry. The election officials there said everything is going to be just fine.

According to several media reports about 1400 voters in Virginia got two absentee ballots mailed to them, but elections officials said only one would be counted.

Elections officials in Fairfax County told the Washington Post a printer problem led employees to mistakenly mail two ballots to about 1000 voters. Officials said people should destroy the second ballot.

Officials told the Post there are safeguards in place to make sure someone can’t vote twice. If a voter tried, a state verification system would reject a second ballot from a person with the same identity.

This is happening in Fairfax County and the election officials there are assuring everyone that their verification system will detect any ballots from a person whose vote was already counted and reject them. But has that system ever been put to a wide-scale test? And let’s assume that the verification process actually does root out cases of double voting. Will the voters be prosecuted for voter fraud if they vote twice? This question should apply to both New York and Virginia. Who is to say whether the individual was intentionally trying to sneak in a second vote or if they were simply confused by the massive errors caused by the government?

Yes indeed, this massive mail-in voting scheme is really turning out to be a sweet deal, isn’t it? If only someone had tried to warn us.