New York, NY - October 17, 2016 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman called on the New York State Board of Elections today to issue clear guidance to poll workers about the affidavit ballot process in advance of the November 8 election. After receiving over 1,000 complaints from voters during the Presidential Primary on April 19, the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau opened an inquiry into the practices of Board of Elections across the state, which remains ongoing. As part of that inquiry, the Attorney General’s office has found that many poll workers do not receive guidance about their legal obligations with respect to affidavit ballots.
“I urge the Board of Elections to address issues with the affidavit ballot process that my office has uncovered as part of its inquiry. It is critical that we ensure all eligible New Yorkers are able to cast an effective ballot on Election Day. Poll workers must offer affidavit ballots to voters who believe they are registered, even if they do not appear in poll books,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
In the letter, the Attorney General asks the State Board of Elections to “issue clear guidance to local BOEs regarding the (a) procedures for determining the eligibility requirements for affidavit ballots; (b) process for casting such ballots; (c) importance of reviewing affidavit envelopes for completeness; and (d) necessity of providing persons who choose not to cast affidavit ballots with voter registration applications. BOEs also should be advised to provide the written guidance and training to their poll workers, and to ensure that poll sites have sufficient affidavit ballots and voter registration applications to meet demand.”