ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York Attorney General will conduct an investigation after his office received a record number of complaints related to issues at the polls for the New York primary.
According to the AG’s office, between 6 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, the office received 562 phone calls and 140 e-mail complaints from voters across the state. In the 2012 general election, the AG’s office received approximately 150 total complaints.
AG Eric Schneiderman released the following statement on Wednesday:
“Yesterday, New Yorkers turned out in impressively high numbers to vote for the nominees in their respective parties. By most accounts, voters cast their ballots smoothly and successfully. However, I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s voter hotline, which received more than one thousand complaints in the course of the day yesterday. That’s why today, we have opened an investigation into alleged improprieties in yesterday’s voting by the New York City Board of Elections. If necessary, we will initiate inquiries in additional areas of the State where voting irregularities appeared unusually high. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and if any New Yorker was illegally prevented from voting, I will do everything in my power to make their vote count and ensure that it never happens again.”
The most common complaint came from individuals who attempted to vote but were told they were not registered to vote whatsoever. The second most common complaint were from people who are registered but were told they were not registered with a political party.
New York is a closed state, which means voters must be registered with a political party to vote in the primary.
The AG’s office also said they received complaints that poll workers allegedly denied voters affidavit ballots when requested, and the problem was more evident in Upstate New York rather than New York City and its suburbs.
Other complaints included a lack of privacy at polling places, accessibility issues at polling sites, unclear instructions from poll workers specifically about voting for delegates in addition to candidates for president, and ballots stating votes must be marked in black ink but polling sites only had blue pens available.