August 7, 2020

More than 84,000 mail-in ballots from Democrats were disqualified. According to the figures released by the Board of Elections, the presidential primary’s mail-in ballots were disqualified for reasons such as arriving late, lacking postmark, or does not include voter’s signature and other reasons. 

Fox News reports that one out of four mail-in ballots were disqualified for the reasons stated above. The high invalidation rate is due to the under-prepared Postal service. Critics blamed the high invalidation rate on election officials who encouraged voters to fill out. 

Arthur Schwartz stated that “A 26 percent invalidation rate is astounding. It’s very troubling.” He represented several candidates in a federal lawsuit that claims voters were disenfranchised due to BOE and Postal Service’s poor handling of the ballots. 

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that thousands were disenfranchised due to tardy mailing and processing. Some of the votes not counted include pre-paid ballot envelopes without postmarks. Manhattan Judge Analisa Torres ordered that the State of Board Elections should count ballots received by June 25. BOE appealed the ruling. 

New York Post reported that Manhattan Judge Analisa Torres stated the plaintiffs proved that voters were disenfranchised and denied their constitutional rights. The plaintiffs included congressional candidate Suraj Patel and Brooklyn Assembly candidate Emily Gallagher. 

Torres said that after being urged to vote, the voters were denied free speech, equal protection, and due process under the law. NY Post cited the problem, which is, “Thousands of ballots that had stamps pre-paid by New York State were not postmarked by the Postal Service, particularly those coming from Brooklyn voters. But most other ballots were postmarked. If such a postmarked ballot was not received by election officials by June 23, it was not counted.”

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Many of the ballots arrived a day or two after the primary election. The reason is that the voters did not receive the mail from the Postal Service until it was Election day. In her 48-page ruling, Torres said, “When voters have been provided with absentee ballots and assured that their votes on those ballots will be counted, the state cannot ignore a later discovered, systemic problem that arbitrarily renders those ballots invalid.

Manhattan Judge Analisa Torres ordered that ballots received by June 25 be counted, though the state Board of Elections said it is appealing the ruling.

Aside from tardy mailings and processing, Schwartz said scores of ballots were tossed out because the voters failed to sign the interior envelope that came with it.

But he said it wasn’t the voters’ fault.

For those who voted by absentee ballot in the Gallagher and Patel races—and in particular, for those voters living in Brooklyn … accepting the state’s offer to vote by absentee ballot and following the state’s instructions to vote timely, nonetheless resulted in their ballots not being postmarked, and, consequently, invalidated. Under these circumstances, the policy embodied by the postmark rule, deliberately adopted and intentionally applied to those ballots, is sufficient to establish a violation of the Due Process Clause and the First Amendment.” 


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