ALBANY — Stories from voters confused, misled and denied their vote in Tuesday’s New York primary were growing Thursday: Some voters statewide who showed up at the same polls they’ve used for years found their names didn’t appear on the rolls kept by elections officials; in one case, several pages of voters’ names were missing; and in other cases voters who had changed their party enrollment found the switch was never transferred on the rolls, denying them a chance to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, according to claims made to the state attorney general’s office.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said the growing list includes more than 1,000 complaints. He and city Comptroller Scott Stinger are investigating.
Common Cause NY is also collecting complaints. They include stories of a couple who had voted together regularly for seven years only to find the wife’s name was on the voter registration, but the husband’s was not; another woman who had the same address for 40 years who had disappeared from the rolls; missing electronic codes that turned away voters for two hours; notices with the wrong date for the primary; and a frustrated voter who said a poll worker eventually relented and gave him a provisional ballot to fill out, but said “It won’t count.”
Other complaints concerned basic issues such as difficulties disabled people had casting their ballots, a concern that was supposed to have been settled years ago by state and federal laws. Some voters couldn’t vote in the primary of the party in which they thought they were enrolled, but found themselves enrolled in the other party, according to state and city officials.
“One voter registered as a Republican in Park Slope asked for a Republican primary ballot,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause. “The poll worker said, ‘We don’t have any of those.’ He didn’t vote. He was a first-time voter, a new American. What does that tell a person?”
One voter advocacy group that is suing the state said it heard heartbreaking stories from voters who had been excited to vote Tuesday.
Voters are frustrated, angry, and feel helpless,” Equal Justice USA spokeswoman Shyla Nelson said. “We have heard hundreds of stories, with desperate pleas for help.
In New York City alone, more than 125,000 were dropped from the rolls. The New York City Board of Elections said in response to reviews by Schneiderman and Stringer that it would cooperate with probes, but saw no widespread problem.
The city Board of Elections declined to comment Thursday.