Velázquez calls for federal election monitors in next week’s primary
Following a WNYC report that last summer’s purge of voters by the Board of Elections (BOE) disproportionately affected Latino voters and voters in New York’s 7th District, U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice provide federal election monitors for the June 28 Congressional primary in New York City.
“Evidence uncovered today suggests that the potentially illegal voter purges that occurred during 2015 have been substantially concentrated in my district in the areas of Sunset Park, East New York and parts of Bushwick and Williamsburg. This suggests a targeted pattern of voter suppression and therefore an urgent need for federal oversight,” Velazquez wrote in a letter on Tuesday to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
The BOE kicked roughly 120,000 voters off the rolls last summer. Two board officials have been suspended while investigations are ongoing.
Under the state Freedom of Information Law, WNYC obtained the list of every voter the BOE says was removed from the books. Their analysis found that Hispanic voters were disproportionately purged from the rolls when compared to all other groups.
Executive Director Michael Ryan said the board would return all the purged voters to the rolls in time for Tuesday’s congressional primary, according to WNYC.
Velázquez wants further assurance, however.
“Given the pervasive pattern of problems, it is difficult to have confidence that voters will not encounter other difficulties and barriers when heading to the polls next Tuesday,” she wrote. “Assigning federal election monitors would help protect the most fundamental right of voters in my district on Election Day.”
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