Some voters in New York City reportedly received mail-in ballots for the upcoming 2020 presidential election that were marked for military use despite the fact that they had not served in the military.
“The misprint makes it appear that the voters received a ‘Official Military Absentee Ballot’ instead of a ‘Military/Absentee Ballot,’ leaving several borough residents who received the documents — including two Post journalists — worried that their votes might not be properly tallied,” the New York Post reported. “Experts from both sides of the political aisle said the typo ultimately wouldn’t matter because the city Board of Elections uses the same ballots for both military voters and traditional absentee voters who live in the same district.”
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat, expressed anger over the alleged problems that were happening with the mail-in voting.
“This apparent typo just has everyone confused and believing these are invalid ballots,” he said. “It’s absolutely outrageous that when everyone is watching them, they still screw up the most basic thing, which is printing the ballot correctly. Did no one proof this?”
Multiple voters in Brooklyn told Gothamist / WNYC that they have received a mislabeled “official absentee ballot envelope.” Normally, the voter inserts their completed ballot into the envelope and signs the outside. But in these cases, their ballot envelopes bear the wrong name and address. If a person signs their own name to this faulty ballot envelope, the ballot would be voided.
NYC Votes also posted pictures of ballots on their Twitter account, writing: “Note: absentee ballots say ‘Official Absentee Military Ballot’ in the top corner. This is the correct ballot, even if you are not serving in the military. Typically, there is a slash between the words ‘Absentee / Military’ like on the primary ballots from this June. The slash was not included this time. Though confusing, these ballots are still valid.”
Typically, there is a slash between the words “Absentee / Military” like on the primary ballots from this June. The slash was not included this time. Though confusing, these ballots are still valid. pic.twitter.com/JxZ4x5AaPj
— NYC Votes (@NYCVotes) September 28, 2020
New York City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan said that the problem was “an error made by the vendor, Phoenix Graphics, who has been contracted to print and mail the ballots for voters in Brooklyn and Queens,” Gothamist added.
“We will ensure on behalf of the voters in Brooklyn that the proper ballots and ballot envelopes are in the hands of the voters in advance of Election Day so they can vote,” Ryan said. “This problem will get corrected.”
A spokesperson for the Board of Elections told NBC New York that they were in the process of “determining how many voters have been affected,” adding, “we can assure that the vendor will address this problem in future mailings, and make sure people who received erroneous envelopes receive new ones.”
The New York City Board of Elections wrote on Twitter: “If you received an absentee ballot with a wrong oath envelope due to an outside vendor error: -DM us -Email us Apply4Absentee@boe.nyc – Or call 1-866-VOTE-NYC.”
— NYCBoardOfElections (@BOENYC) September 29, 2020
A message from The NYC Board of Elections regarding all absentee ballots pic.twitter.com/RqmWfuym3l
— NYCBoardOfElections (@BOENYC) September 28, 2020
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