Board of Elections won’t start counting NYC ballots until next Wednesday

For many candidates across the city, the campaigning is done, but the primary election itself is far from over.

News 12 Staff

Jul 1, 2020, 9:59 PM

Updated 1,420 days ago

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For many candidates across the city, the campaigning is done, but the primary election itself is far from over.
The New York City Board of Elections says it will not begin counting absentee ballots until next week.
The earliest they can start is next Wednesday, meaning candidates like Councilman Ritchie Torres and his opponents are still waiting to see who wins.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable and it’s pretty surreal,” says Assemblymember Michael Blake.
Assemblymember Blake trails Councilman Ritchie Torres by 4,500 votes, a gap he believes he can make up when the absentee ballots are counted.
"After all is said and done, you respect the will of the voters. Once you know all information is out there, but the concern right now as we enter July is none of us can actually say we know the truth,” says Blake.
With so many people choosing to vote by mail rather than in-person due to COVID-19, the number of absentee ballots skyrocketed.
As of June 28, only 38 % of absentee ballots across the Bronx had been returned. In Brooklyn, even fewer with just 29%.
According to the city Board of Elections, the staff needs more time to organize the actual paper ballots. This way when the counting process starts it goes as quickly and accurately as possible.
Political expert Professor Christopher Malone says not to read too much into that.
"I don't think it's anything, certainly, not nefarious or concerning, it's just them having a lot more ballots to go through this election cycle,” says Malone.
The Torres campaign seems fine with the delay, telling News 12 in a statement, “We understand that the BOE has an unprecedented number of ballots to count and limited staff. We look forward to their final results when they are ready to be announced. We're confident that Ritchie will emerge from the complete vote as the decisive winner."
That's not the only race hanging in the balance. Longtime incumbent Carolyn Maloney is neck and neck with Suraj Patel in the 12th Congressional District, which includes part of Brooklyn.
And a number of state senate and assembly primaries are also still up for grabs.
Whatever the results, Professor Malone believes this primary election will have long lasting effects.
"If we have mail-in elections going forward, we don't want to see voter turnout decline and unfortunately if that did happen because of whatever reason we want to rectify that,” says Maloney.


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