Top officials at the state Board of Elections on Tuesday announced they would appeal a federal judge's order to count absentee ballots in New York City that had been invalidated, in many cases due to the lack of a postmark.
“Given the totality of the circumstances here, we understand the desire to protect the rights of voters,” said Elections Commissioner and Co-Chairman Douglas A. Kellner. “However, this will place a tremendous burden on the local boards of elections as they are preparing for the November general election and is highly unlikely to change the results in any contest.”
At issue are swaths of absentee ballots that were sent in for the June party primary. Judge Analsia Torres in a ruling on Monday ordered state elections officials to direct local boards of election to count all otherwise valid absentee ballots cast in the June 23 Primary which were (1) received by June 24, 2020, without regard to whether such ballots are postmarked by June 23, 2020 and (2) received by June 25, 2020, so long as such ballots are not postmarked later than June 23, 2020."
But elections officials in their statement argued the ruling could lead to an uneven application of the existing election law.
“There must be uniform rules in the administration of elections and those rules are set by the Legislature in the Election Law,” said Commissioner and Co-Chair, Peter S. Kosinski.
“Those laws governing the canvassing of ballots were followed by all the local board of elections. To establish a precedent that says the State Board has the authority to supplant the enacted laws of the Legislature at any time is dangerous and threatens to undermine the orderly administration of elections. Appealing this decision is an effort to restore order to the process. The Legislature has made changes to the Election Law in the wake of the June Primary and that is the proper way to make changes in the conduct elections.”
The invalidated votes make up a large chunk of the votes cast in the congressional district of Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, covering Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. She is being opposed by Suraj Patel for the party's nomination.
Boards of election around New York received more absentee ballots than they normal process in an election as voters were mailed applications and given essential a full waiver for casting those ballots due to the pandemic.