Letter Calls for Action Following Pattern of BOE Voter Disenfranchisement
State Senator Adriano Espaillat called on the U.S. Department of Justice to provide federal election monitors in the congressional primary on .
The letter addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch follows a similar call made last week by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) requesting the U.S. Department of Justice provide federal election monitors following the purge of tens of thousands of Brooklyn voters in New York’s April presidential primary.
In the letter today he notes “The New York City Board of Elections has repeatedly failed to execute its primary responsibility to ensure all duly qualified voters can fully participate in our democracy.” Read the full letter below.
The Honorable Loretta E. Lynch
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Lynch,
I am writing following rampant voter irregularities in the April primary and request that you assign federal election monitors to oversee the congressional primary on, in New York’s 13th District, for which I am a candidate.
For almost 50 years since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and its periodic renewals, the federal government has ensured equity at the ballot box throughout our nation. Until it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013, Section 4 of the voting rights act required review by the Justice Department before election procedures, polling sites, and district boundaries could be changed. These protections extended to several states and municipalities, including New York’s 13th Congressional District in the Bronx and Manhattan.
As a resident of this District, my neighbors and I need the return of these protections.
Just ask the voters in the 79th election district in northern Manhattan’s 71st Assembly District, who have voted in four different poll sites in as many elections, or the 69th ED in the 72nd AD, where voters bounced around between two poll sites over several election cycles. Or ask the 120,000 overwhelmingly Latino voters purged from Brooklyn’s voter rolls—an egregious example of voter disenfranchisement. The New York City Board of Elections has repeatedly failed to execute its primary responsibility to ensure all duly qualified voters can fully participate in our democracy. With the BOE undertaking no significant reforms since the voter purge in April’s presidential primary, voters across the 13th District and beyond, deserve federal oversight.
I am not alone in my concern. Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez has already voiced similar concerns about voter disenfranchisement in New York’s 7th District. As a candidate in a congressional district where 55% of residents are Latino, this disenfranchisement is especially worrisome.
These pervasive challenges make it difficult to have confidence that voters will not face barriers at the ballot box on Election Day. The most basic tenet of democracy is the right to vote, and I believe it is essential for the Department of Justice to assign federal election monitors in the 13th congressional district.
This is a noble gesture by State Senator Espaillat, but why was it not done in part last week when Rep. VelazQuez sent in her request.
This only appears to be a gimmick to try to get more votes.