City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that his office will conduct an audit of the Board of Elections, in response to reports of voter disenfranchisement and problems at polling stations during Tuesday’s New York primary.
Stringer’s announcement comes after the BOE deregistered over 125,000 Brooklyn Democratic voters ahead of the vote.
“We intend to find out why the BOE is so consistently disorganized, chaotic and inefficient,” the comptroller said in a statement.
Bill de Blasio called for an investigation after earlier reports suggested that 63,000 Democrats were deregistered.
“It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists,” de Blasio said in a statement. “I am calling on the Board of Election to reverse that purge and update the lists again using Central, not Brooklyn borough, Board of Election staff. We support the Comptroller’s audit and urge its completion well in advance of the June elections so corrective action can be taken.”
“On a day when all of Brooklyn should be celebrating incredible voter participation at poll sites across our borough, I am troubled over the tens of thousands of our neighbors who have been inexplicably purged from the voter rolls,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement. “We cannot abide any obstacle that advances the perception or reality of voter disenfranchisement. The New York City Board of Elections must immediately reverse these errors in advance of June’s congressional primaries, and Comptroller Stringer must expedite the completion of his audit of the agency. Our City has a duty to ensure the BOE is properly funded, staffed, trained, and equipped to run 21st century elections.”
By Tuesday morning, there were dozens of reports made about polling stations across the city that were either closed hours or unable to process votes hours after they were scheduled to open.
Michael Ryan, the executive director of the city’s BOE, said he would cooperate with any planned audit, but maintained that he hasn’t encountered widespread problems at the polls.
“I think what we are seeing that’s different here is that this is a presidential primary so all of the eyes and ears are on New York,” he said.