A Month After Elections, 200,000 Votes Found in NYC

December 4, 2010

By Sam Roberts, The New York Times

The city’s Board of Elections routinely reminds New Yorkers that the election night vote count is unofficial and preliminary.

Still, the difference in the results from Nov. 2 and in the returns formally certified by the board on Wednesday seems striking: The board found 195,055 votes, or 17 percent more votes, than were originally reported.

That differential — which nearly equals the total vote for governor in the Bronx and Staten Island combined — does not include an additional 28,442 affidavit ballots that New Yorkers cast at the polls on Election Day because of missing registrations or other reasons and another 30,665 absentee and military ballots and scattered write-in votes.

“Unbelievable,” said Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, in response to the significant number of votes cast last month that were not discovered until this week.

The preliminary machine tally alone swelled from 1,145,826 on election night to 1,366,881 in the official version.

The largest cache of newly found machine ballots was in Queens — about 80,000, or 31 percent more than were reported on election night.

“After a 16-hour day there’s room for error,” said Valerie Vazquez, a spokeswoman for the Board of Elections. “Poll workers have to take the report that prints out after the polls close, manually input that to a Return of Canvass form, and then it goes to the Police Department where civilian employees punch it into computers.”

The board had come under heavy criticism during this year’s campaign for its management of a new computerized voting system that replaced the antiquated lever machines.

The primary vote in September was marred by problems, including polling sites that opened hours late, workers who lacked training in the new machines and machines that failed to function properly.

To read more, visit: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/a-month-after-elections-200000-votes-found/?hp

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