NYC Illegally Kept 200,000 People from Voting in the 2016 Primaries

There’s a very strange story coming out of New York. Apparently, the New York City Board of Elections violated state and federal election laws and purged 200,000 eligible voters from its rolls just before the 2016 primary. The most egregious removal, with roughly 117,000 voters removed? Brooklyn.


New York City’s Board of Elections will acknowledge it broke the law and be making serious changes in its practices, according to the proposed settlement of a legal fight over the purge of more than 200,000 voters from city rolls.

After many Brooklyn residents arrived at the polls during last year’s presidential primary to learn they were deemed ineligible to vote, the good government group Common Cause New York filed suit. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office joined the litigation.

But rather than slug it out in Brooklyn federal court, the sides have been working on a settlement for months.

Some reports I’ve seen say the BOE will be adding those voters back to the rolls, which would indicate they were legitimate (i.e. citizens). The terms of the deal being brokered between the Board of Elections and the state include the BOE officially acknowledging it broke state and federal law, and a deep dive into every voter registration that has been removed since 2013. Yet another is that the board come up with a plan in 90 days showing how they will maintain voter rolls going forward.

In addition to the randomness of the BOE in a major city — and, particularly in the last election, extremely consequential major city — coming out of nowhere and removing eligible voters from its rolls, there’s something else about this story that is worth following.

I went back and checked: Hillary reportedly beat Bernie Sanders in that primary by just over 200,000 votes.


With over 98.4% of the votes tallied, Clinton led 57.9% to 42.1% and was ahead in New York City. With more than 1.7m Democratic votes counted, Clinton held a lead in excess of 280,000. By midnight local time she had won 135 delegates to 104 for Sanders.

And we know, with a begrudging thanks to Wikileaks, that there was an effort to make sure Hillary was the candidate over the popular populist Sanders (especially with millennial-aged Democrat voters who, last I heard, like to live in places like Brooklyn). Could those Brooklyn voters have been Sanders’ voters?

Who knows? Because it’s complicated further with the suit to correct being brought by the very left-leaning Common Cause, joined by Trump’s nemesis Schneiderman (lately of the Russian investigation into Paul Manafort with one Robert Mueller).

It almost looks like the NY AG and Common Cause got a jump on this before someone else could. Like, maybe, Trump’s Election Integrity Commission?

But again, since the NY BOE isn’t talking, it’s all just speculation, It could’ve been a mistake — a pretty gigantic one, but those do happen. We’ll keep an eye on it.


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