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25 percent of ballots in Brooklyn June primaries invalid

A staggering 25 percent of mail-in ballots cast in Brooklyn for June’s primary elections were declared invalid, it was revealed on Tuesday, as Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the Board of Elections to shape up by November.

More than 120,000 absentee ballots were filed in Kings County for the June 23 primary but about 30,000 were initially disqualified — and it wasn’t the fault of the voters, according to Rodneyse Bichotte, head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

Bichotte — also a state assemblywoman whose district includes Flatbush, Ditmas Park and Midwood — said the disqualifying issues included a lack of postmark or late arrival.

The BOE was still untangling the mess six weeks after the primaries and was unable to provide hard citywide figures on Tuesday.

But the Brooklyn debacle suggests a troubling failure in a system that may be relied upon to a elect a president this fall with the pandemic still raging.

“Americans should not have to risk their lives to participate in the most fundamental right of democracy,” said Bichotte, who blamed the snail-mail balloting bungle on a lack of federal funding for the US Postal Service.

In addition to missing postmarks and signatures, which some first-time mail-in voters didn’t know they had to provide, several ballots arrived late because the BOE and USPS delayed deliveries.

In a lawsuit over the ham-handed handling of the remote votes, Manhattan federal Judge Analisa Torres ruled Monday that late-arriving ballots must now be tallied for the primary. Those disqualified for other issues, however, will remain invalid.

Though the ruling was not expected to change the course of any races, it was hailed as a victory for voting accountability.

De Blasio on Tuesday said the BOE needed to address the issue in order to make mail-in voting reliable by November.

“The Board of Elections can do better and must do better,” he told reporters in his daily press briefing.

The mayor said he has long had “deep concerns” about the structure of the BOE, which consists of 10 commissioners approved by the City Council.

Nevertheless, de Blasio said he believed the BOE as structured could shore up mail-in balloting in time for November.

“I am certain they can learn from this and be prepared for the general election,” he said. “Three months is a long time.

“There are whole states in this country that do everything with mail-in [voting] and it works perfectly well.”

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