BREAKING: Thousands of absentee ballots tossed in tight Maloney-Patel Race, Patel Suing Board of Elections

Per Byron York:

65,000 mail-in ballots in New York’s 12th district race. One-in-five thrown out. Leader’s margin is 648 votes. Lots of lawsuits.

Now why is it we should not be worried about voting by mail for the presidential election? From @QueensEagle

From The Intercept:

AS PART OF the effort to mitigate the exploding pandemic in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed voters toward casting their ballots by mail, which New Yorkers did in record numbers. But while hundreds of thousands of ballots were cast, there has been significantly less energy invested in counting those votes. The election was held on June 23, but more than three weeks later the state is nowhere near a final tally and is disenfranchising an extraordinary number of voters along the way.

The fate of several critical elections hangs in the balance. Board of Election documents obtained by The Intercept show that in New York’s 12th Congressional District, which covers Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, 20 percent of mail-in ballots will be thrown out for a variety of reasons. The documents represent a “preliminary staff review” of ballots, and official decisions are ongoing.

A 1-in-5 disenfranchisement rate is far too high for a developed democracy, but the rate was worse in the Brooklyn part of the district, where the rejection rate in the staff review was a staggering 28 percent, according to an analysis of the documents. Across the city, nearly 400,000 absentee ballots were cast, meaning Cuomo’s handling of the election could throw out some 100,000 votes. That’s roughly the number California disqualified, a number considered scandalously high though it represented just 1.5 percent of mail ballots.

QueensEagle reports a tight race between veteran Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and challenger Suraj Patel has emerged as New York City’s most closely watched Congressional primary — but about 20 percent of voters may end up having no say in the final outcome.

One-in-five mail-in ballots have been tossed out in New York’s 12th Congressional District, which includes Western Queens, Northwest Brooklyn and the East Side of Manhattan, according to Board of Elections documents reported by The Intercept.

The absentee ballots are crucial in the contest, where Maloney, who has served in Congress since 1993, led Patel by 648 votes after the machine tally following the June 23 Democratic primary. Roughly 65,000 NY-12 voters cast their ballots by mail, The New York Times reported.

Maloney received 41.7 percent of the in-person votes compared to Patel’s 40.1 percent. Two other candidates, Lauren Ashcraft and Pete Harrison, received about 18 percent of the overall vote total. In Queens, Patel received 540 more votes than Maloney.

On Thursday, the four candidates called on the BOE to count every absentee ballot that was invalidated because the U.S. Postal Service did not postmark the envelope or because the BOE received the ballots after June 30.

“Put bluntly: A missing postmark, over which voters had no control, should not disenfranchise those voters,” the candidates wrote.

“We stand together in asking Governor Cuomo to update his executive order to permit the Board of Elections to accept all absentee ballots received without a postmark,” they added.

Patel went even further, suing the Board of Elections in federal court to demand that all ballots mailed and received before June 30 be counted, even if the ballot does not have a postmark.

“A 1-in-5 disenfranchisement rate is far too high for a developed democracy,” he said in a statement.

Other plaintiffs on the lawsuit include Emily Gallagher, a north Brooklyn Assembly candidate, and a handful of voters. Former Queensborough Community College Prof. Kathryn Stabile, 82, joined the lawsuit after noting that she did not receive her absentee ballot until June 23, the day of the election, Gothamist reported. The plaintiffs are represented by Queens-based attorney Ali Najmi and J. Remy Green.

For the first time, an executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed all eligible voters to cast their ballot by mail if they submitted an absentee ballot application, but many voters reported receiving their absentee ballots after election day — or not at all.

The absentee ballot count for NY-12 will continue next week inside Queens Borough Hall.