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New York Attorney General: Office Received Over 1,000 Complaints From Primary Voters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City officials are promising to figure out why tens of thousands of voters disappeared from the rolls before Tuesday's primary.

The Board of Elections told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman that the issues boiled down to either voter error or routine maintenance of the rolls to reflect people moving around. 

"Well, we're going to find out what the real reasons were. That's what an audit is about," City Comptroller Scott Stringer said.

He said this is not a new conversation.

"At the end of the day, heads have got to roll because democracy outweighs everything we do," he said.

It's not just the people, it's the whole system," according to Dick Dadey with Citizen's Union.

"This is a prime example of how our systems and our processes keep people away from the polls. It's old and it doesn't work and it needs to be changed," he told WCBS 880.

He thinks people should be able to register and change their party affiliations right up until the moment they vote.

The office for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it received over 1,000 complaints from voters on Tuesday. The attorney general said it is the largest volume of complaints they have received for a general election since taking office in 2011. The office said they only received 150 complaints in the 2012 general election.

"I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office's voter hotline, which received more than one thousand complaints in the course of the day yesterday. That's why today, we have opened an investigation into alleged improprieties in yesterday's voting by the New York City Board of Elections," Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday.

The most common complaint was voters being told they weren't registered, followed by being told they were not registered with a political party, and the denial of affidavit ballots when requested.

Tommy Hartung, of Queens, told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez the New York primary was the first time he registered to vote after finding a candidate he supported.

"I was approved in their system. I got an approval letter," he said. "And I went to the polls station and I wasn't in the book."

And he wasn't the only one. Several viewers sounded off to CBS2.

"Voted in Brooklyn and they couldn't find me and I've voted for 40 years straight," Ramona Holman wrote.

"Couldn't vote because they dropped my name from the list despite being an active registered voter at the right location. Pathetic," Ryan McLoughlin wrote.
Board of Elections Director Michael Ryan spoke to CBS2 about the complaints.
"Any of those issues are absolutely 100 percent regrettable. We do a post-elections analysis to make sure those mistakes do not happen again in the future," he said.
Ryan said the voters were removed from the roll because they moved out of the borough or were classified as inactive after changing addresses or failed to vote in two successive elections and didn't properly re-register by the March 30 deadline.
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