Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NY Board of Elections Miscue Disenfranchises Troops

The New York State Board of Elections screwed up royally. They missed an October 1 deadline to send out absentee ballots to members of the US Armed Forces and out-of-state residents, putting those soldiers' ballots in doubt.
State Board of Elections officials blew an Oct. 1 deadline to mail absentee ballots to about 43,000 New York troops and residents overseas -- jeopardizing the heroes' chances of voting in the Nov. 2 elections, critics charged yesterday.

"Put these ballots on the next plane to Afghanistan," fumed Sen. Charles Schumer, who wrote the law last year requiring states to mail out ballots early so troops can vote.

In a notice to the Defense Department, the board admitted that New York City and Westchester, Putnam, Erie and Niagara counties missed the deadline.

The ballots were actually supposed to be mailed out 45 days before the election, but New York received a waiver allowing it to wait until Oct. 1.

The board is working on extending the deadline for receiving ballots back from military voters.

Military voters who file absentee ballots must postmark them by Nov. 1.
It is absolutely unconscionable that they would miss the deadline even after obtaining a waiver to send out the ballots just over a month from the election. The state has had years to roll out an electronic ballot system and has failed at every opportunity to do so in a timely fashion. Now, it's a rush to fix mistakes that should have been foreseen and forestalled by proper planning.

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