Elections officials in NYC are blaming a vendor error after an unknown number of voters who requested absentee ballots were sent return envelopes that contained the incorrect information.
The largest US city’s residents are seeking to vote absentee and are required to return their ballots in a signed “oath envelope” mailed together with the ballot.
But Brooklyn and Queens’ residents are complaining that their return envelopes contain other people’s addresses.
If they sign the incorrect envelope, their ballot is voided.
Brooklynite Andrew Văn Brisker told BuzzFeed News,
“Given we’re some 30 days from the election, I was initially quite pleased the ballot arrived so I could timely return it.
That feeling turned to dismay when I realized the mismatched oath envelope inside was labeled with someone else’s voter ID, barcode, and more.”
“A litany of questions ran through my mind, mostly dealing with all the ways my — and their — vote now might not get counted.”
Joseph Bergen, a BuzzFeed employee who lives in Brooklyn too said,
“I applied online about a month ago for a mail-in ballot. I received it yesterday and found that the ballot inside was for someone else who lives a few blocks from my apartment.”
“It also felt like the name on the ballot is very easy to miss. If I hadn’t known this was a possibility I can imagine that I might have just filled it out and mailed it in not knowing the error.”
Michael J. Ryan, executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, blamed the error on Rochester-based printer Phoenix Graphics, which had been contracted to print ballots in Brooklyn and Queens. He said in a statement,
“We are determining how many voters have been affected but we can assure that the vendor will addresses this problem in future mailings, and make sure people who received erroneous envelopes receive new ones.”
“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.”
Election officials are urging people who received the wrong return ballots to contact them to resolve the issue.
But call the number listed, came up busy.
You’ve got to be kidding me. My absentee ballot arrived today, and @BOENYC gave me someone else’s privacy envelope together with their voter ID, barcode, and more. This election’s already a disaster and we haven’t even started yet. pic.twitter.com/CuKlYPC7qE— Andrew Văn Brisker (@alphaBRAVO) September 29, 2020
Meanwhile, the Board of Elections in NY posted that the official absentee ballot says “Official Absentee Military Ballot”
Well, THAT’S not confusing… ?
A message from The NYC Board of Elections regarding all absentee ballots pic.twitter.com/RqmWfuym3l— NYCBoardOfElections (@BOENYC) September 28, 2020
(Photo, Twitter; via BuzzFeed)