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The NYC Election Mess Meets the Big Lie

What happened in the New York City mayoral race is an embarrassment, but anyone citing it as evidence of voter fraud should be ignored.

June 30, 2021
Xinhua News Agency/Getty

The New York City Board of Elections is incompetent. Its latest blunder: the board counted 135,000 test ballots during a count this week for the city’s mayoral primary. But the board’s problems have a long history. The New York Times editorial board once called the Board of Elections “at best a semi-functioning anachronism” — 50 years ago.

In 2016, it wrongly purged 200,000 eligible voters from its rolls before the presidential primary. In 2018, high humidity combined with longer than usual two-page ballots resulted in widespread machine breakdowns. Last year, over 80,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified during the presidential primary. And during early voting for November’s general election, the city’s voters waited on grueling four-hour lines in some places.

The board must be reformed, which the Brennan Center has called for. But the board’s latest blooper could not have come at a worse time. Already, the proponents of the Big Lie are in a feeding frenzy over it. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted:

But let’s set the record straight — again. The 2020 presidential election was safe, secure, and successful. Then-President Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security said so. And so did his attorney general. Every audit of the 2020 election challenging Joe Biden’s victory found that Joe Biden did, in fact, win more votes than Trump. Almost every single one of Trump’s legal challenges to the election failed miserably. 

Let me be clear here: What happened in New York City is an embarrassment. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is right to call for a complete recount and the city’s voters deserve better. Fortunately, there were checks like paper ballots in place that will allow audits and recounts to ensure that, at the end of the day, we can confirm the correct winner of this contest.

But ignore the politicians and trolls who continue to undermine confidence in American elections. They are trying to dismantle our democracy with every lie that they tell and every piece of legislation they introduce to make it harder to vote.