Election officials in New York City widely distributed mail-in ballots for the primary on June 23, which featured dozens of hard-fought races. The officials had hoped to make voting much easier, but they did not seem prepared for the response: more than 10 times the number of absentee ballots received in recent elections in the city.
Now, nearly six weeks later, two closely watched congressional races remain undecided, and major delays in counting a deluge of 400,000 mail-in ballots and other problems are being cited as examples of the challenges facing the nation as it looks toward conducting the November general election during the pandemic.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other officials are trading blame for the botched counting in the city, and the Postal Service is coming under criticism over whether it is equipped to handle the sharp increase in absentee ballots.
Election lawyers said one area of concern in New York City was that mail-in ballots have prepaid return envelopes. The Postal Service apparently had difficulty processing some of them correctly and, as a result, an unknown number of votes — perhaps thousands — may have been wrongfully disqualified because of a lack of a postmark.
Thousands more ballots in the city were discarded by election officials for minor errors, or not even sent to voters until the day before the primary, making it all but impossible for the ballots to be returned in time. [Continue reading…]