NYC absentee ballots turn up 5 months late

It was a delivery that should have come on time but it was five months late. The United States Postal Service dropped off a package to the New York City Board of Elections in April 2018. Inside were hundreds of absentee ballots that should have been counted in the November 2017 general election.

"The only explanation that we got from the post office is that somehow a batch of our mail was hung up in their process," Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan said. "It was actually almost 2,000 pieces of individual mail."

He said that 1,983 pieces of mail were delivered on April 24 and April 25. Of those, 533 pieces were absentee ballots, all postmarked November 7, 2017, or before.

A letter from the New York postmaster to the Board Elections said a verbal agreement allowed the BOE to pick up the ballots. But Ryan said all these First Class pieces of mail should have been delivered.

"The fact we volunteered to help them out and go pick up mail throughout the election season should have only improved the delivery process," he said. "It should not have slowed it down."

The ballots were for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, and several City Council and judicial races. Ryan said the uncounted ballots were from 20 different assembly districts and none if the results were changed by the error.

"The right to vote is a sacred one and whether it was one that was improperly processed or 533 is of no moment to the Board of Elections," Ryan said. "We want everyone to be able to participate and to have their votes count."

The BOE will notify voters if their ballot was misplaced by the end of next week. They'll receive a letter explaining what happens along with a copy of the note from the post office.