Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Schneiderman: Affidavit ballot guidance needed for NY Board of Elections poll workers

October 18, 2016

As published by am New York on October 17, 2016.

Ahead of the general election on Nov. 8, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called on the New York State Board of Elections to better train its poll workers on the affidavit ballot process.

Schneiderman, in a letter to the BOE, urged officials to “issue clear guidance” on how to determine if someone is eligible to submit an affidavit ballot as well as on the process of casting such ballots. The letter also asked the BOE to stress to its poll workers the importance of reviewing complete affidavit ballots and giving voter registration forms to anyone who is not eligible.

An affidavit ballot can be cast on Election Day by anyone who believes they are eligible and registered to vote, but are not on the official list of voters when they arrive at their polling station. After the election, the BOE will then check its records and count the ballot if the person is found to be eligible.

The move comes amid an investigation by Schneiderman’s office into state BOE practices, which was sparked by more than 1,000 voter complaints during the presidential primary in April.

So far, that investigation has revealed that many poll workers aren’t adequately prepared regarding affidavit ballot information, Schneiderman’s office said.

“I urge the Board of Elections to address issues with the affidavit ballot process that my office has uncovered as part of its inquiry. It is critical that we ensure all eligible New Yorkers are able to cast an effective ballot on Election Day,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Poll workers must offer affidavit ballots to voters who believe they are registered, even if they do not appear in poll books.”

Schneiderman’s letter also urged the BOE to makes sure there are enough affidavit ballots and voter registration forms “to meet demand” at its polling sites.

A spokesman said the state Board of Elections was in the process of reviewing the letter from Schneiderman’s office.