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New York probing election-related disinformation robocalls, AG says

New York State Attorney General Letitia James on

New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday said she is investigating allegations that robocalls to New York residents told them to stay home on Election Day.   Credit: Charles Eckert

Allegations that New York voters have received disinformation-spreading robocalls encouraging them to stay home Tuesday are being investigated, State Attorney General Letitia James said.

"Attempts to hinder voters from exercising their right to cast their ballots are disheartening, disturbing, and wrong," James said in a news release. "What’s more is that it is illegal, and it will not be tolerated."

The release did not provide specifics about the wording in the alleged calls but said James' office issued subpoenas over their sources.

Also Tuesday, the office said that voters whose absentee ballots are rejected for reasons like the envelope being unsigned or unsealed must be told of the problem and allowed to make a fix.

Under the state’s new "notice and cure law," voters have seven days if the so-called notice of delinquency was received between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. If the ballot is received on or after Nov. 3, the law allows five days from the notification, which could come via postal mail, email or phone, according to James’ office, which issued a news release Tuesday about the law.

The release said that given the volume of ballots, it is likely the notice could come after Election Day.

The state attorney general's office can be contacted with questions or complaints at 1-800-771-7755 or election.hotline@ag.ny.gov.

"The law states that voters must be notified if their absentee ballots are being rejected for certain errors they might have made in filling out their ballots, such as the voter forgot to sign the oath envelope (which is the envelope that the completed ballot goes inside, also referred to as the "affirmation" envelope, or "security" envelope)," the news release said.

In the release, James said: "Every voter has a right to have their voice heard, and it’s important that they are empowered with information to make sure their voice is heard. With the record number of first-time absentee ballots, we hope this information proves useful to voters who may need to fix an inadvertent error with their ballot."

Among the errors covered by the law, the release said, are: an unsigned envelope, the signature not corresponding to the one on file, the envelope not bearing the required witness signature marking where assistance has been provided, the "oath envelope" is missing or unsealed, and the person providing the assistance signed without the actual voter.

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