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New York AG to Election Board: Clarify Provisional Balloting Process

After receiving more than 1,000 complaints from voters during the state's April presidential primary, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called on the state Board of Elections to "issue clear guidance" regarding provisional balloting procedures (which the state calls "affidavit ballots").

These ballots allow voters whose names do not appear on the rolls but believe they are registered to vote using a provisional ballot, and to have their ballot scrutinized by election officials later. In a letter sent to the board, Schneiderman said "many poll workers are not receiving consistent guidance about their legal obligations with respect to affidavit ballots."

According to the letter, complaints rolled in from Albany, Clinton, Erie, Niagara, Ontario, Westchester, and Suffolk counties during the primaries from voters saying they were denied affidavit ballots even though they believed themselves to be registered. It also says that only New York City's Board of Election Policies properly adhered to the state policy that voters always be given an affidavit ballot if they believed themselves to be registered.

About Electionland

ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

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