Vote counting in the fierce congressional battle between incumbent Charlie Rangel and his insurgent challenger Adriano Espaillat is no longer a matter of the usual incompetence of the Board of Elections. Troubling signs have now emerged that some officials at the board crossed the line in an all-out effort by the Democratic Party establishment to ensure a Rangel victory, and that the board’s staff wrongly disqualified hundreds of paper ballots. Board officials began their tally Thursday of some 2,600 paper ballots. Those are either mail-in absentee votes or “affidavit” ballots from people who went to the polls last week but were told their name was not on the rolls. That count showed Rangel increasing his slim 807-vote overall lead by another 131 votes, although Espaillat’s main base area of Washington Heights and Inwood has yet to be counted. But until now, no one has mentioned more than 2,000 additional paper votes the board’s staff tossed out this week as invalid.
“We’ve found 192 people in Manhattan whose affidavit ballots were disqualified but who show up as Democratic voters on the rolls,” said Aneiry Batista, coordinator of the recount operation for the Espaillat campaign. “And we’re not even halfway through those that were disqualified.” Batista, and the whole of Espaillat’s camp, was even more astonished by what they found in the Bronx — 170 disqualified ballots on which poll workers failed to write down the Election and Assembly District in which the vote was cast. That’s something state law requires poll workers to do, board spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez confirmed.
On 67 of those Bronx ballots, a Board of Elections notation claimed the person was disqualified for being in the wrong Election or Assembly District. “How can you be in the wrong E.D. when they didn’t even list where you voted?” Batista said. But there were clear signs of foul play in this race before the first vote was cast.
Full Article: Troubling actions by Board of Elex members – NY Daily News.