Brooklyn Boro

If your absentee ballot arrived in a mislabeled envelope, here’s what you can do.

September 29, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Since many Brooklyn voters received absentee ballots whose return envelopes are labeled with incorrect names and addresses, several local officials have reached out to their constituents to explain exactly what to do to ensure that votes are not invalidated.

The New York City Board of Elections blames a misprint by a third-party vendor for the errors, which it says are affecting nearly 100,000 voters. Many of those Brooklyn voters reported receiving envelopes marked with the name of a family member or neighbor.

If the name on the ballot is different than the name on the envelope, voters should throw away or shred the document, said City Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach), as the Board of Elections will send a corrected ballot.

“The NYC Board of Elections will proactively send you a new, corrected ballot,” writes Brannan. “You do not have to do anything else.”

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Voters can also reach out to the Board of Elections at [email protected] or at 1-866-VOTE-NYC for a new ballot if they wish.

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope-Windsor Terrace-Kensington) said a number of voters had reached out to him about their absentee ballot being marked ‘Absentee Military.’

“This is a style error by the Board, leaving off the ‘/’, but it will not impact the validity of your ballot,” said Carroll. “If your correct information is on the inner envelope, then you should complete your ballot and mail it back in.”

Sarah Steiner, an elections lawyer, said that voters who have signed and submitted the mislabeled ballots may vote again when their correctly-labeled ballot arrives from the Board of Elections, The New York Times reported. People may also vote in person, effectively replacing their mailed absentee ballot.

“The BOE has once again fallen short on this basic task, and for that there must be accountability,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, referencing the BOE’s mishandling of New York state’s primary elections, which left races unresolved for weeks.

As the Board of Elections works to correct its error, Adams encouraged Brooklynites to vote in person.

“We can and must swiftly right this wrong and encourage in-person voting for all those who are able, strictly adhering to public health guidelines by handing out masks and hand sanitizer, creating outdoor voting booths, and anything else necessary,” Adams said.

“This upcoming election will be one of the most important in modern history,” he added. “We will not let deliberate sabotage, political cynicism, or bureaucratic screw-ups cast the results into doubt.”

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