New York City, Other Counties Fail to Mail Military Absentee Ballots on Time

New York City, Other Counties Fail to Mail Military Absentee Ballots on Time

New York City, Other Counties Fail to Mail Military Absentee Ballots on Time

After failing to send absentee ballots to members of the military and others living overseas by the federal deadline, the New York City Board of Elections came under fire on Monday.

Sen. Charles Schumer headed the criticism, which came from nearly everywhere.  Schumer wrote the 2009 law requiring ballots to be mailed in plenty of time for military members to vote.  Schumer commented that the ballots ought to be put on the first plane to Afghanistan after the board failed to mail them on time.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in by saying that a delay would be “reprehensible” and that “it would not surprise me if the Board of Elections screwed up on this.”  Bloomberg did say that he did not personally know if reports that the ballots were late were accurate. 

The 2009 law was written so that American citizens eligible to vote as an absentee would be assured of having the ballots in plenty of time to vote.  The law requires ballots to be mailed to troops at least 45 days before a general election.  New York was given an extension this year because of the unusually late primaries.  Primaries in the state did not occur until September 14 this year.  However, New York City and several other New York counties still failed to meet the extended deadline of October 1. 

State board officials sent a letter to the Pentagon last week stating that New York City, Erie, Niagara, Putnam and Westchester counties had all failed to have ballots in the mail by the deadline.

The delay will mean that nearly 50,000 military members from New York City may miss their chance to vote in the November elections.  Mail to troops overseas can take up to two weeks to arrive.  The state does allow absentee ballots to be counted for up to 13 days after the elections, which take place on November 2.

In the letter to the Pentagon, the Board of Elections said they planned to post copies of the ballot online so that military members would have access to them electronically.


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