NYC Provisional Ballots May Be Counted, Possibly Changing Result
As NYC Sanders forces and those joining them from around the country protested in front of the courthouse, a judge who ruled against a lawsuit's request to allow independent voters to vote, also ruled that all other points in the lawsuit may move forward. This means that the vast number of provisional ballots, also called affidavit ballots, cast by Democratic primary voters in the NY primary may be counted after all.
Bernie Sanders' campaign on Tuesday called reports of voting irregularities in New York state "a disgrace" as local officials rushed to condemn the city Board of Elections for stripping more than 125,000 Democratic voters from the rolls.
Brooklyn, New York, Bernie Sanders’ hometown, was reportedly the most badly affected area for hopeful voters. Just before polls closed at 9 p.m., the polling site coordinator of Brooklyn Borough Hall estimated that about one-tenth of all voters who showed up to vote there had been removed by the Board and were unable to vote using a standard ballot. According to the New York Times election results, among standard votes that were counted after the primary, 174,236 votes had been cast for Clinton and 116,327 votes were cast for Bernie Sanders in Brooklyn. From the Clinton after-election party at The Sheraton, Ed Schultz of RT reported, “The results tonight don’t really matter.” Schultz thinks that the provisional ballots and pending audit could even affect Clinton’s Big Apple win.
Sanders' loss in his hometown of Brooklyn to Clinton was trumpeted in the media as a sign of Clinton's strength in NY.
Sanders supporters from around the country are encouraged to travel to NYC to support the protesters, who may possibly begin an Occupy Wall Street style encampment near the court to support the lawsuit 24/7. The NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer, a Clinton superdelegate, has independently recognized the magnitude of possible voter disenfranchisement in the NY primary and has announced his own audit, saying in a press release:
“There is nothing more sacred in our nation than the right to vote, yet election after election, reports come in of people who were inexplicably purged from the polls, told to vote at the wrong location or unable to get in to their polling site,” Comptroller Stringer said. “The people of New York City have lost confidence that the Board of Elections..."
Springer estimates that "more than 125,000 voters in Brooklyn were removed from voter rolls." Brooklyn is but one of five boroughs in NY making the magnitude of the disenfranchisement possibly in the many hundreds of thousands. 1.7 million voters officially turned out in the NY Democratic primary.
Sanders supporters are also encouraged to contact the Sanders campaign to ask it to announce a position of support for the provisional ballots to be counted.
UPDATE APRIL 23, 2016
So far one city Board of Elections official has been suspended without pay.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said:
if any New Yorker was illegally prevented from voting, I will do everything in my power to make their vote count...
“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.”