NY Attorney General Opens Investigation Into NYC Elections Board

The New York State Attorney General's office said its voter hotline received the most calls in its history Tuesday

New York's top prosecutor has opened an investigation into the New York City Board of Elections, a day after scores of voters in the five boroughs complained of voting irregularities and problems.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the investigation into the beleaguered board in the wake of widespread issues faced by voters in New York City.

The announcement a day after the city Comptroller's Office said it would conduct an audit of the board after it was revealed that more than 126,000 Democratic voters were removed from the rolls in Brooklyn between November and state's presidential primaries on Tuesday. 

"Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and 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," Schneiderman said. 

Schneiderman's office said Wednesday that its voter hotline had received more than 1,000 calls and emails on primary day, with complaints ranging from issues with participating in a party primary to unclear instructions and accessibility issues. It's not clear how many of those complaints came from New York City voters.

The number of complaints is the most the Attorney General's Office has ever received, dwarfing the 150 messages the office received during the 2012 general elections.

Voters across the city documented issues at the polls. Several precincts in Brooklyn told voters to come back later or vote via affidavit because roll books hadn't arrived to polling location. Other people, meanwhile, were told that they weren't shown among party ranks, even though they claimed to have registered years ago. 

One voter alleged that poll workers were trying to trick Democrats into casting ballots for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The city Board of Elections said it was investigating that claim.

Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan told NBC 4 New York that "people are responding to a lack of complete information."

The body said that 126,000 Democrats were removed from rolls in Brooklyn, but it was because they moved, died, or changed registration. Another 63,000 were added to the rolls before the election, meanwhile.

"We want to make sure that people who belong on the rolls stay on the rolls and those who have to come off come off," he said.

New York City comptroller Scott Stringer called for an audit of the body on Tuesday and said that "the people of New York City have lost confidence that the Board of Elections can effectively administer elections and we intend to find out why the BOE is so consistently disorganized, chaotic and inefficient."

Ryan said the Board of Elections will cooperate with the audit and that "at the conclusion of this process, there's really not going to be much of a story."

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