In auditing the state Board of Elections and seven county boards of elections, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that the state board had not provided proper oversight to counties on absentee-voting procedures. In reviewing county boards in Dutchess, Westchester, Bronx, Rensselaer, Richmond and Seneca counties, the Comptroller’s Office found that controls over timeliness, completeness and accuracy need to be strengthened. DiNapoli recommended that the state review the county boards’ absentee-voting procedures.
—Six of the seven counties accepted ballots they should not have because they were incomplete or were for someone who was not registered to vote in the county.
—Several counties reported inaccuracies to the state. In Westchester, 1,143 absentee-ballot applications were counted and 1,338 were reported, a difference of 195.
—All rejected absentee-ballot applications were turned down appropriately. However, 27 of the 350 applications that were accepted should not have been because they were incomplete, or the person was not registered in that county.
—Dutchess was the only county that properly accepted all the applications that were reviewed by the comptroller. Westchester County accepted one incomplete application.
—Just two of the seven counties—Dutchess and Westchester—updated their voter databases for the changes indicated by undeliverable ballots.
—None of the counties keeps track of the status of the reuqest. They are not required by law to do this, but it would provide additional assurance that applications are provided when requested, according to the comptroller.
In a response to the audit, the state Board of Elections said the agency surveys boards on a number of topics and contacts those that report data or a process that is unclear or problematic. Reviews of county boards have been conducted more frequently in the past, but the state’s limited resources have been focused on the requirement to certify new voting machines for New York, an ongoing process.