New York Primary Voters’ Balloting Complaints Trigger Probe

  • Thousands were barred from voting over missing names
  • Investigation will focus on New York City Board of Elections

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks at a press conference on March 30, 2015, in New York City.

Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

New York’s attorney general opened an investigation into alleged improprieties during the state’s primary voting on Tuesday, when thousands of voters complained they couldn’t cast ballots due to inaccurate voting lists.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday that the probe would focus on the New York City Board of Elections, which is responsible for the voter lists. Schneiderman said the investigation could spread beyond New York City.

"I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities," Schneiderman said. "If any New Yorker was illegally prevented from voting, I will do everything in my power to make their vote count and ensure that it never happens again."

Access to the ballot box became a contentious issue nationwide long before primary season started, with many Democrats arguing Republican officials are trying to scare away voters with restrictive ID laws, including in North Carolina and Virginia. In Arizona, which held its primary March 22, Democrat Hillary Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders joined forces with the Democratic Party to sue state officials after voters were left waiting hours in line to cast ballots, allegedly a result of Maricopa County slashing the number of polling places.

Clinton and Republican front-runner Donald Trump won their primaries in New York on Tuesday by wide margins, meaning any alleged discrepancy is unlikely to affect the outcome of either race. Trump won 60 percent of the Republican vote to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s 25 percent, with Texas Senator Ted Cruz trailing with 14.5 percent, according to the Associated Press. Clinton took almost 58 percent to Sanders’ 42 percent.

Valerie Vazquez, a spokeswoman for the Board of Elections, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the probe.

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