2016 New York primary
The 2016 New York primary was set to be a major battle in the Democratic primaries. Bernie Sanders, riding a wave of momentum, was looking to unseat Hillary Clinton in her own home state. Despite an initially-tightening race, the pre-election polls mysteriously changed to put Clinton far ahead once again. She ultimately won a landslide victory, contradicting exit polls that showed only a close loss for Sanders. Thousands of voters, largely Sanders supporters, again suffered from voter roll irregularities. Statistical anomalies, meanwhile, pointed to electronic vote rigging in Clinton's favor.
The exit polls of the New York primary showed Sanders losing by only 4%, a massive 12% discrepancy against the official result of a 16% Clinton win.
Immediately after the Arizona primary, which saw thousands disenfranchised due to voter roll irregularities, New York citizens began noticing the same problems. Once again, nearly every single report came from Sanders supporters. Many of them were prompted to check their voter registrations after the Arizona debacle, and discovered that their party had been changed to unaffiliated (leaving them ineligible to vote in New York's closed primary) or they were no longer registered. Others only learned their registrations had been changed when they turned out to vote on April 19. Here are the known accounts of New York voters (for all parties/candidates) that faced registration issues:
Sanders supporters indeed comprised the vast majority of those suffering from mysteriously registration changes. Election Justice USA, an election integrity organization, also received thousands of reports from New York citizens, which came overwhelmingly from Sanders supporters. This continued to support the theory that Sanders supporters were deliberately targeted for disenfranchisement. In fact, many of those reporting issues on social media noticed that registration forms purportedly sent by them had been electronically falsified, with forged signatures and backdating. This suggests that there was some actor, whether an insider or outside hacker, working to covertly alter voter registrations.
Those unable to vote were either turned away or forced to cast provisional ballots, which were unlikely to be counted. A small number of people were able to show proof of their valid registration to a judge and get a court order to vote.
In addition to the registration tampering, hundreds of thousands of registered voters were purged from the rolls in Brooklyn. From November 2015 to April 2016, about 126,000 voters were purged even as 63,000 registered. New York City election officials said that they only purged voters who were inactive or moved away, but many purged voters told journalists and state officials that they fell into neither category. US Uncut found that 63,000 voters had been removed from the active list, but only 10,000 were added to inactive, leaving over 50,000 voters unaccounted for. And in early June 2016, all 126,000 purged voters were returned to the rolls, a tacit admission that those voters should have been eligible during the primary.
Dianne Haslett-Rudiano, chief BoE clerk for Brooklyn, was suspended without pay following the voter purge. The state attorney general, NYC comptroller, and NYC mayor Bill de Blasio all expressed their intent to investigate. However, some began wondering whether Haslett-Rudiano, a Republican, was made into a scapegoat for deputy clerk Betty Ann Canizio, a Democrat. Canizio denied that she was behind the purge, even claiming that she was a Sanders supporter, which her social media posts and close ties to New York establishment Democrats contradicted. One of her friends, Brooklyn Democratic chairman Frank Seddio (a strong Clinton supporter) even lied that the voter purge occurred a year earlier in order to exonerate Canizio, who joined the BoE in 2014.
An anonymous Brooklyn elected official told the New York Post, "It sounds like they cut a deal to make the Republican the scapegoat and protect Betty Ann". If true, both Haslett-Rudiano and Canizio were likely involved with the purge, with Haslett-Rudiano agreeing to take the fall. Haslett-Rudiano had previously been involved in a 2014 scandal that potentially linked her to Clinton. For years, she had refused to sell a Manhattan townhouse that she'd bought for $5000 in 1976, even as it fell into disrepair. Finally, she was willing to sell it in November 2014 for $6.6 million, after her real-estate broker "got her a very good price". The buyer was a strong Clinton supporter and the daughter of Clinton superdelegate Nita Lowey. While this doesn't prove a quid-pro-quo, it is a major conflict of interest.
Just as with voters who suffered from registration tampering, those purged from the rolls were forced to cast provisional ballots if they wanted to vote. New York City had 121,000 provisional ballots cast, and rejected 91,000 of them.
Which candidate, if any, suffered more from the voter purge is unclear. A WNYC analysis found that Latinos, a demographic group considered more likely to support Clinton, were disproportionately hurt by the purge. However, Election Justice USA identified many majority-Latino precincts that went for Sanders, and found that the percentage of purged voters in a precinct was a significant predictor of Clinton's vote share, indicating that the purges helped, rather than hurt, her.
- Pre-election polls skewed to Hillary
- Bernie supporters experiencing NY registration issues
- More cases of registration issues
- Nearly all EJUSA complaints are from Bernie supporters
- Brooklyn voter purge
- Voter purge not explained by inactive voters
- Purged voters returned to the rolls after the Dem primaries ended
- Diane Haslett-Rudiano removed for Brooklyn purge
- Evidence that Haslett-Rudiano took the fall
- 91,000 uncounted provisional ballots in NYC
- Election Justice USA, "Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries", 2016/07/25
- NYC BoE lost track of thousands of voting machines