By Carl Campanile, Nolan Hicks and Aaron Feis
Voters across Queens have received mail-in ballots for the 2020 presidential election marked for military use despite never having served in the armed forces — raising the specter that if mailed in, those votes could be challenged in court post-election.
In recent days, several borough residents — including two Post journalists — have received forms reading “Official Absentee Military Ballot,” creating concern about whether their votes would be properly tallied.
“I believe that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, referring to the roughly dozen constituents in his Sunnyside district who have reached out to him about receiving the ballots. “It appears that everyone has gotten this particular ballot.”
Beyond Sunnyside, non-service members also reported receiving the ballots in neighborhoods including Richmond Hill, Forest Hills and Astoria.
Van Bramer, a Democrat, said the issue only adds to the worries in an already topsy-turvy election cycle that has seen an inordinate number of voters look to mail-in voting with the coronavirus pandemic raging on.
“There’s just mass confusion about these ballots and what people are supposed to do with them,” he said. “People were already not trusting this process and they were already not trusting the Board of Elections to count the ballot right.”
Van Bramer said he was informed by the city BOE that the issue stemmed from a typographical error, wherein a dash meant to separate the words “absentee” and “military” was dropped.
“This apparent typo just has everyone confused and believing these are invalid ballots,” he said. “It’s absolutely outrageous that when everyone is watching them, they still screw up the most basic thing, which is printing the ballot correctly.
“Did no one proof this?”
You think this is stupidity, an accident or done on purpose to create chaos, doubt and delays?