Massachusetts: Nearly 18,000 Mail-in Ballots Rejected in Primary Election

In this May 17, 2016, file photo, ballots are prepared for counting at Multnomah County election headquarters in Portland, Ore. The coronavirus has knocked presidential primaries back several weeks as officials worry about voters crowding into polling places. If the disease remains a hazard in November, Democrats say there's only …
Don Ryan/AP Photo

Roughly 18,000 ballots cast in Massachusetts’ primary election were rejected by officials, newly-released data shows.

NBC 10 reports:

Of the 1.7 million votes cast in Massachusetts in this month’s primary, 814,013, or about half, arrived by mail, according to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office. Thousands of people chose mail-in voting for the first time, taking advantage of new election rules enacted during the pandemic that make all voters eligible.


Election figures shared with the NBC10 Boston Investigators show 17,872 ballots were rejected, representing about 1.7% of early and absentee votes. Some ballots were rejected because voters forgot to sign them or returned them without the ballot envelope. Others were received too late at the local election office – past the 8 p.m. deadline on primary day.

“It wasn’t perfect, and no election is perfect,” Common Cause Massachusetts Executive-Director Pam Wilmot said of the rejected ballots.

The development comes as voter fraud fears associated with voting by mail continue to rise across the country.

On Tuesday, the New York City Board of Elections announced that around 100,000 Brooklyn voters received absentee ballot return envelopes with the wrong address and names labeled on them.

CNN reported:

Valerie Vazquez-Diaz, a spokesperson for the board, told CNN the issue affected 99,477 voters. She blamed a third-party vendor, Phoenix Graphics, which had been contracted to print and mail the ballots to voters in Brooklyn and Queens. CNN has reached out to the company for comment.

Michael Ryan, the election board’s executive director, said at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon that the city has ordered the vendor to remail new ballots “to make certain that absolutely no disenfranchisement occurs in the borough of Brooklyn.”

The New York Post reported Wednesday that top staffers of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) are moving block the New York City Board of Elections from resending botched ballots to Brooklyn voters.

“The governor wants to take a different approach,” said Doug Kellner, who serves as co-chairman of the state Board of Elections. “You’ve got to talk to the governor’s office.”

The alleged plan prompted criticism from State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who wrote on social media: “We are hearing reports that @NYGovCuomo wants to prevent the @BOENYC from rectifying the issue by stopping them from sending corrected ballots.”

Myrie added: “This is straight up disenfranchisement and an affront to our democracy. The vendor screwed up and is trying to fix it. Let them!” 

President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly raised concerns of possible voter fraud linked to voting by mail, commented on New York City’s ballot headaches.

“Wow! 100,000 Mail In Ballots in New York City a total MESS,” tweeted the president. “Mayor and Governor have no idea what to do. Big Fraud, Unfixable! Cancel Ballots and go out and VOTE, just like in past decades, when there were no problems!”


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