What Happened During the New York Democratic Primary in Brooklyn?

What happened in Brooklyn during the New York primary? It’s been a little over a month

since the Presidential Primary in New York and yet there is still no official explanation for what

happened to the 120,000 people in Brooklyn weren’t able to vote. Why weren’t their voices

heard? The majority of the blame for the incident is being placed on Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the

chief clerk of the New York Board of elections. Haslett-Rudiano was suspended immediately

after the news of this so-called “voter purging” took place. The agency released a statement that

her suspension would be "without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal

investigation into the administration of the voter rolls in the Borough of Brooklyn".

Haslett-Rudiano’s job included maintaining accurate voter registration lists;

including keeping track of party registration, and removing the names of voters who

have passed away or moved out of the state. According to WNYC, Haslett-Rudiano and

the Board of Elections had fallen almost a year behind schedule on keeping records up

to date.

60,000 registered New York Democrats were inadvertently removed from voting

lists the day before the primary. The day of the primary, that number doubled, bringing

the number of “purged” voters to an astounding 120,000. It’s been rumored that Haslett-

Rudiano and her team skipped a step while removing people and rearranging lists. The

majority of the complaints came from Democratic voters who were affiliated with the

party; however, when these voters arrived at polls they were listed as unaffiliated. Since

the New York primary is a closed election-meaning- if a voter is not affiliated with a

party they are ineligible to vote.

The obvious takeaway from this pandemonium is the dire need for the Board of

Elections to reevaluate their operation, and perhaps conduct an independent review of

procedures. Mistakes as bad as this have enormous consequences now as well as

down the road. The ballots cast by those who were deemed ineligible on that day could

have changed the outcome of the race. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been

extremely close throughout the entire race, which only signifies the impact every vote in

every race is. The silver lining in this situation could be that registered and unregistered

voters alike can see how important it is to cast ballots. Moving forward, the hope is that

the BOE learns from this tremendous error and this situation never happens again.