II. Primary Update
Voters went to the polls in New York on Tuesday for the state’s closed presidential primary and while some pre-primary fears of thousands of unaffiliated voters turning up at the polls to vote in the closed primary didn’t quite come to pass, the day was not without controversy.
The bulk of the issues occurred in Brooklyn. There, more than 100,000 people were removed from the voters rolls in the months leading up to the primary. Elections officials argue that it was delayed, but normal voter roll maintenance, but state and federal officials have launched an investigation.
Also in Brooklyn, several polling places reported problems with voting machines and building access delaying start times for up to two hours in some cases.
The closed primaries did raise some issues. In Onondaga County, home to Syracuse University, elections officials reported that about one-third of voters who showed up at the polls were turned away because they were not registered for either party.
Officials in Onondaga County said part of the problem on Tuesday could be blamed on social media. Democratic Commissioner Dustin Czarny told Syracuse.com that the county saw more provisional ballots than normal and said social media spread a lot of misinformation which resulted in the provisional ballots. "Social media took a story and ran with it telling people they could register or do affidavit voting and it would count because of the lawsuit," Czarny told the website. "We saw a lot of social media scares on Facebook and Twitter that not only should people go to the polls, but some posts said the judge had ruled in their favor, which was not true."
In Broome County, home to Binghamton University, the polling place at the Old Student Union ran out of ballots. Voters had to fill out affidavit ballots instead. According to county officials, about 95 percent of the campus is registered to vote.
Franklin County elections officials reported some issues with independent voters wishing to cast ballots. Some voters seemed to understand that the problem was not the fault of the local elections officials. "It's disheartening and I do want to make it clear, you know, it's not the people at the elections here. It's not their fault. They're fine, decent, hard-working people who are following the rules that they have to get," Janet Zanchelli of Plattsburgh told WPTZ.
And in what may be our favorite primary day story to-date, some voters in Rochester have taken to placing their “I Voted” stickers on the headstone of Susan B. Anthony. “It was definitely like I was putting it on her lapel, like, ‘This one’s for you Susan, here you go,’ ” Brianne Wojtesta told The Washington Post. The practice has been happening for several years now and cemetery officials have said they are OK with it.
Voters in five states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — head to the polls next week and there are a few things worth keeping an eye on Tuesday.
In Maryland, the state will be using it’s new, all-paper ballot voting system for the first time in a presidential election.
In Connecticut, the state’s DMV crashed for two days this week. What impact that may or may not have on voter registration in the Nutmeg State remains to be seen.
Elections officials in some Pennsylvania counties are scrambling to add a last-minute candidate after a court ruling placed the candidate back on the ballot. Also still in limbo is a constitutional question about judge retirement age. The question, while on the ballot, may or may not be counted.
And in Rhode Island, the state will only be using 1 out of 3 polling places that it normally uses. The state is making the cuts for cost savings and said that similar reductions were made for the March 2008 primary.