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City Council Runner-Up Charges Election Day 'Misconduct' in The Bronx

By Kate Pastor | September 18, 2017 10:08am
 Randy Abreu ran against Councilman Fernando Cabrera in the Democratic primary.
Randy Abreu ran against Councilman Fernando Cabrera in the Democratic primary.
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THE BRONX — Runner-up City Council candidate Randy Abreu is claiming election day "misconduct" at several polling sites where workers made it more difficult for people to cast their ballots, according to an email to the city's Board of Elections.

Najaah Daniels, Abreu's senior campaign manager, said in a letter to the board that there were voting irregularities at four poll sites, including people being "ping-ponged" from one site to another and registered voters being denied a chance to vote, as well as "uncooperative" poll site workers who refused to even look up people's names, insisting they vote by affidavit instead. 

Daniels called on the BOE in the letter to "resolve this abomination."

City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who has served the district covering Morris Heights, University Heights, Fordham and Kingsbridge since 2010, won the race with 54.65 percent, according to unofficial New York City Board of Election results. Abreu came in second in the three-way primary with 34.95 percent. 

Irregularities occurred at PS 86, MS 143, PS 33 and PS 310, according to the emailed letter — all sites were Abreu's campaign expected him to do well.

"Poll site workers...were uncooperative and rejecting voters by refusing to look them up in the book," Daniels said in her email.

Attached to the letter are three screenshots meant to show that voters who were denied should have been able to cast ballots at the sites listed in a poll site locater database. 

Daniels said that there were "many ... prime voters who were suppressed." 

Brunilda DeJesus, 78, said that she had been voting at MS 143 at 120 W. 231st St. since 1989, but last week she was given the runaround.

On Tuesday, said she went to cast her ballot around 6:30 a.m. and was asked for her name and identification before being told "I don’t belong there” and being offered an affidavit ballot. 

Poll workers sent her to another school, PS 86, which is a 13-minute walk away, according to Google Maps. There, she was once again told it was not her polling place and was offered the option of using an affidavit ballot. 

“I told them I’m so upset that I’m not gonna vote for nobody,” she said, but she eventually returned to MS 143 in the afternoon and was able to vote normally.   

“My name was there all the time," she said.

She said the last time she voted in a local race she also had trouble, but that she ran into no difficulties voting in the presidential election.  

“People get discouraged,” she said. 

The New York City Board of Elections won't be ready to look into election-related complaints until after the primary election is certified, spokesperson Valerie Vazquez-Diaz said.