Democrat Who Survived Primary After Vote-by-Mail Disaster Chairs USPS Hearing

Rep. Carolyn Maloney
AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who narrowly survived a primary challenge earlier this year after thousands of vote-by-mail ballots were not counted, chaired a House hearing Monday on the U.S. Postal Service’s readiness for the 2020 election.

Maloney chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which was chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) until his death last year. She chaired a hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, which was moved earlier due to Democrats’ concerns — and conspiracy theories — about changes being made to the U.S. Postal Service to make voting more difficult. Democrats have pushed for universal vote-by-mail; Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, have argued against it.

Ironically, Maloney won her primary after a vote-by-mail debacle. She was declared the winner by 648 votes earlier this month — six weeks after the votes were cast. Thousands of votes were discarded, as New York moved to a vote-by-mail system it had never used before, as Democrats insisted that voting in person posed additional risks due to coronavirus. Maloney’s opponent, Suraj Patel, has refused to concede, and joined a federal lawsuit challenging the results:

The Wall Street Journal reported:

After primary day, an initial count of 40,000 ballots had Rep. Carolyn Maloney beating progressive challenger Suraj Patel by 648 votes. The canvassing of some 65,000 absentee ballots didn’t start until July 8, but unofficial data last month showed a preliminary rejection rate of 28% in Brooklyn. Mr. Patel joined a federal lawsuit, and Judge Analisa Torres held two days of hearings last week. The court transcript is a bracing read.

City officials were deluged. Eleven days before the election, “the Manhattan borough office had something like 30 or 40,000 pending applications for absentee ballots, and I was told that they could only process 5,000 per day,” testified Douglas Kellner, the co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections. “Basically my view is that they threw up their hands and said, ‘Well, there’s nothing more that we can do.’”

As a result, many ballots were sent to voters late. Allen Tanko, a marketing manager with the U.S. Postal Service, said that one day before the voting, on June 22, the city Board of Elections dropped 34,359 items, presumably ballots, into the mail stream. Postal workers tried to expedite them, but some of these ballots were sent to New Yorkers temporarily out of state, who could not possibly have received them in time.

More than one in four vote-by-mail ballots were disqualified in the Democratic primary.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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