As many as 140,000 New Yorkers receive absentee ballots with wrong names and addresses

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Voters in New York City are sounding the alarm after several have reported receiving absentee ballots containing either the wrong name and address, or another person’s ballot altogether — and officials estimate as many as 140,000 mismatched absentee mailings were sent out.

What are the details?

The
Gothamist reported Monday that multiple voters in Brooklyn said “they have received a mislabeled ‘official absentee ballot envelope.’ Normally, the voter inserts their completed ballot into the envelope and signs the outside. But in these cases, their ballot envelopes bear the wrong name and address. If a person signs their own name to this faulty ballot envelope, the ballot would be voided.”

The outlet noted that “the New York City Board of Elections has mailed out nearly half a million absentee ballots ahead of Election Day this November,” and “more than 140,000 absentee ballots have gone out across the borough.”

Business Insider reporter Grace Panetta tweeted, ”
And it looks like some people are getting not just the wrong return envelopes with their ballot, but other’s people’s ballots entirely. I can only hope this isn’t a widespread problem bc it’s a pretty serious safety/privacy issue.”

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Impacted New Yorkers also took to social media to sound the alarm. One Brooklyn resident called out her city councilman, Brad Lander, tweeting, “I, too, received somebody else’s absentee ballot. Pls help your constituents/our democracy, @bradlander?”

Lander responded, “Sigh. You and apparently as many as 140,000 others. Here’s what we know so far,” pointing to his own Twitter feed where he had linked to the Gothamist article. He had written earlier, “Emerging from Yom Kippur to dozens of emails from Brooklyn voters who were mailed absentee ballots with the wrong name/address on the return envelope. Just so enraging & depressing.”

“Voting absentee is going to work. It really is,” he also tweeted, followed by a “fingers crossed” emoji.

He added, “As @commoncauseny’s Susan Lerner says: ‘Look, this is a stupid error, but there is time to get it fixed.’ And I know it won’t affect the Presidential race (fortunately, swing states have been doing mail-in ballots longer & better). But still, [New York City Board of Elections], please. I can’t take it.”

The New York City Board of Elections blamed an outside vendor for the error, and advised voters to send them a private message, email them, or call to rectify the problem.

“We will ensure on behalf of the voters in Brooklyn that the proper ballots and ballot envelopes are in the hands of the voters in advance of Election Day so they can vote,” Michael Ryan, the NYCBOE’s executive director, told the Gothamist. “This problem will get corrected.”

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