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Several New York voters reported Thursday that they were not on the voter rolls at their voting locations during today’s Democratic primary for governor despite being registered voters and not having changed addresses since the last election.
Registered Democrats in Brooklyn, Washington Heights, and Pelham, New York reported that their names were missing from voter rolls in their voting locations, despite having voted there before and having made no changes in their registration or address.
Some individuals who have reported difficulties voting also expressed their plans to vote for Cynthia Nixon for governor. Nixon’s progressive stance on issues like single-payer healthcare and marijuana legalization make her an appealing candidate and a formidable alternative to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Guess who wasn’t on the rolls this morning at the polling place I’ve voted for four years?— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) September 13, 2018
Writer Rebecca Traister tweeted about her voting experience, saying that she had to cast an affidavit ballot—essentially an absentee ballot for those who are present and registered but encounter problems voting.
Traister said her neighbor had experienced the same thing, as did journalist Lydia Polgreen.
Happened to me too. https://t.co/fUWOJ31FJo— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) September 13, 2018
James Ryan, a professor at New York University, tweeted that both he and his wife were not on the voter rolls at their polling place in Washington Heights. Ryan said that he had planned on voting for progressive candidates Nixon, Jumaane Williams, and Zephyr Teachout in today’s elections.
Peeved that my wife and I were nowhere to be found on the voting roll this AM in Wash Heights, despite not changing our registrations and voting recently as last year. Someone really didn’t want my vote for @CynthiaNixon and @ZephyrTeachout 😡— James Ryan (@jdryan08) September 13, 2018
Jennifer Merritt said that several people in her hometown of Pelham had voted by affidavit ballot because their names had disappeared from the rolls at the polling places where they’re voted before.
Same! Many people voting by affidavit. Here’s one example, but she pushed back pic.twitter.com/qxRw7Fr3Ed— Jennifer Merritt (@MerrittJennifer) September 13, 2018
Twitter users @butwhyevernot, @jess_mc, and @katiekings all reported that they were not present on the voter rolls in their respective polling places when they went to vote. In @butwhyevernot’s case, others at her polling place were also told that their names were not on the voting list.
Had to assert my rights for the 1st time at a polling place today!Reminder: if you’re in the right place and not on the rolls, sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot. (For @CynthiaNixon and @ZephyrTeachout.)— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) September 13, 2018
Three of us just in my line weren't on the voter rolls at my polling place (in Clinton Hill). This is the first affidavit ballot I've had to cast there. WTAF indeed.— Kristen Richardson (@butwhyevernot) September 13, 2018
Same for me! Very weird.— Kathleen Kingsbury (@katiekings) September 13, 2018
Writer Elon Green reported having trouble at the polls, too:
If you’re voting in Port Washington, beware. They told me I wasn’t on the rolls and to do an affidavit. I called the board of elections and found out that, in fact, I’d been sent to the wrong table. The poll workers said they’d given out tons of affidavits. Someone fucked up.— Stagger Lee Shot First (@elongreen) September 13, 2018
Twitter user @adrianeisoverit reported that she couldn’t vote in today’s primary because her registration was changed to Republican.
My affiliation was changed to Republican. Can’t vote in today’s primary but it won’t stop me from voting in November— 𝚊𝚍𝚛𝚒𝚊𝚗𝚎 🧁 (@adrianeisoverit) September 13, 2018
Dante DeBlasio, the son of NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio, also apparently had to vote by affidavit today:
.@NYCMayor’s son Dante was forced to vote by affidavit ballot — despite showing up at his polling place with his voting card from the Board of Elections, he wasn’t on the rolls.— Jillian Jorgensen (@Jill_Jorgensen) September 13, 2018
Throughout the day, more people reported having problems voting in today’s primaries.
Vote suppression in @NYGovCuomo's New York: a thread.— Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) September 13, 2018
Checked my voter registration online. According to the state, I’m not anything. I’m a registered independent. So to recap, the poll workers say I’m a member of the Reform Party, the Democrats say I’m a Democrat, and the state says I’m an independent. Cool. pic.twitter.com/cjGCqTasNd— Michael Ballaban (@Ballaban) September 13, 2018
Myself and a classmate both had to vote provisionally this morning. We're law students so, you know, we were both very on top of following arbitrary bureaucratic rules to register. Truly a mystery— a sickening wreck (@sputniksweetnik) September 13, 2018
This is not the first time New Yorkers have experienced serious problems casting their votes. In 2016, widespread voter roll purges prompted a lawsuit by the good government group Common Cause and Eric Schneiderman, the former Attorney General of New York.
The New York Board of Elections did not comment on the situation by press time.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.