NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With just five weeks to go until Election Day, a mass error sent thousands of mixed-up ballots and return envelopes to voters in Brooklyn.
As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Tuesday, the mistake has election officials scrambling for a fix.
Images started circulating on social media on Monday night of absentee ballots mailed to voters with the correct information, but the oath, or privacy envelope, inside addressed to a completely different person.
Caloway talked to voters who received those mixed-up documents.
“When we opened the exterior envelopes, all of the privacy envelopes in the ballots were for different voters, not for us,” Brooklyn resident Earl Brown said.
“One ballot arrived, albeit with the wrong information on the inner envelope. The wrong ID, the wrong name, the wrong address,” added resident Sally Moses.
— NYCBoardOfElections (@BOENYC) September 29, 2020
As many as 100,000 voters in Brooklyn have been affected by this mistake. The debacle has sent up red flags for voter advocates.
Election attorney Ali Najmi said if voters who got the wrong paperwork mail it back as is their vote might not count.
“If there are any issues with the privacy envelope, if it’s not signed correctly, it will be discredited. It will be invalidated,” Najmi said.
The city’s Board of Elections blamed the mistake on its vendor, Phoenix Graphics, which is based in Rochester.
The BOE said the vendor will address the problem in future mailings and make sure people who received the erroneous envelopes get new ones.
Meanwhile, voters who received the mixed-up documents should contact the BOE immediately to let the agency know they need a new ballot.
“To say that we’re troubled by it is the understatement of the year,” said Melissa DeRosa, top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
DeRosa said her office has been in contact with the BOE.
“And we’ve told them they’ve got to figure out how to deal with this right away,” DeRosa said.
Also creating confusion for voters, many have been receiving military absentee ballots, even though they are not in the military.
Confusion aside, the BOE said not to worry, absentee ballots and military ballots are the same and both are valid.
As for actually mailing those ballots back, in New York you’ll have to provide your own postage. The state Board of Elections told CBS2 depending on where you live, that might require more than one stamp.
In New Jersey, the postage is pre-paid.
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