NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A top official for the Board of Elections in Brooklyn is being removed following thousands of voting complaints on New York’s primary day.
The board suspended Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the chief clerk in Brooklyn, without pay following the primary elections mess.
CBS2 reported the names of 126,000 Brooklyn voters were removed from the rolls ahead of the election.
“The administration of the voter rolls in Brooklyn is of major concern to our office and is a focus of our investigation,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
The board said it “will fully cooperate with the investigations currently being conducted” by the New York State attorney general and the New York City comptroller.
“Why is it alleged that 125,000 people have been removed from the voter rolls? Why did 60,000 people receive notices to vote that didn’t have the primary date? Why were people told they were in the wrong polling placetime and time again?” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday. “The next president of the United States could very easily be decided tonight and yet the incompetence of the Board of Elections puts a cloud over these results.”
Stringer said he was going to audit the Board of Elections.
Schneiderman’s office said it received over 1,000 complaints from voters on Tuesday. The attorney general said it is the largest volume of complaints they have received for a general election since taking office in 2011. The office said they only received 150 complaints in the 2012 general election.
“I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s voter hotline, which received more than one thousand complaints in the course of the day yesterday. That’s why today, we have opened an investigation into alleged improprieties in yesterday’s voting by the New York City Board of Elections,” Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday.
The most common complaint was voters being told they weren’t registered, followed by being told they were not registered with a political party, and the denial of affidavit ballots when requested.
Tommy Hartung, of Queens, told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez the New York primary was the first time he registered to vote after finding a candidate he supported.
“I was approved in their system. I got an approval letter,” he said. “And I went to the polls station and I wasn’t in the book.”
And he wasn’t the only one. Several viewers sounded off to CBS2.
“Voted in Brooklyn and they couldn’t find me and I’ve voted for 40 years straight,” Ramona Holman wrote.
“Couldn’t vote because they dropped my name from the list despite being an active registered voter at the right location. Pathetic,” Ryan McLoughlin wrote.
Board of Elections Director Michael Ryan spoke to CBS2 about the complaints.
“Any of those issues are absolutely 100 percent regrettable. We do a post-elections analysis to make sure those mistakes do not happen again in the future ,” he said.
Ryan said the voters were removed from the roll because they moved out of the borough or were classified as inactive after changing addresses or failed to vote in two successive elections and didn’t properly re-register by the March 30 deadline.
This is not the first time Haslett-Rudiano has been involved in a scandal after she previously owed taxes on her Upper West Side townhouse, which neighbors said was an eyesore. She eventually sold the townhouse for $6.6 million after originally paying $5,000 for it in 1976, according to the New York Daily News.