More than a month after New York’s June 23 primary elections, state election officials are still counting votes. In some legislative districts, they haven’t even started counting absentee votes. In the best-case scenario, election officials hoped to declare winners by the first Tuesday in August – six weeks after Election Day.
It might take a lot longer than that. Election officials in New York City have already invalidated upwards of 100,000 absentee ballots – about one of every five that were mailed in from the five boroughs. And furious candidates are already filing lawsuits charging discrimination and disenfranchisement.
The chaos in New York is a warning about November’s elections: Voting is being transformed by the pandemic. But no state has built new election infrastructure. No state has the time or the money to make sure vote-counting will go smoothly.
“This is what happens,” a New York election official told me over the phone last week, “when you jury-rig a system that hasn’t been designed or implemented or tested before.” And just about every state is about to be hit with a massive surge of absentee ballots.
The Atlantic, July 24, 2020