ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A deluge of yet-to-be-counted absentee ballots in New York this year means voters will have to wait until July to find out who won many primary elections Tuesday for the state legislature, Congress and other offices.
The mostly unsatisfying end to primary day came after a pandemic-era campaign season in which in-person politicking was curtailed, polling places consolidated, and all voters were encouraged to cast their ballots by mail, rather than risk getting exposed to the coronavirus at a polling location.
Nearly 1.8 million people requested absentee ballots. They had until Tuesday to mail them. Counting of those votes won't begin until at least July 1, and could last several days or even weeks.
Voters who braved the polls in person reported scattered problems with incomplete ballots, and as polls closed at 9 p.m. there were reports of exceedingly long lines in suburbs north of New York City.
Numerous social media posts Tuesday night showed people still waiting in the dark outside several polling sites in Westchester County more than an hour after the polls closed. That included some polling locations in the 16th congressional district, where U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel was locked in an unresolved Democratic primary battle with Jamaal Bowman.
Bowman shared video of the lines on Twitter and called them “terrible.”
New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ office had gotten about 150 complaints by mid-afternoon, many about voters not getting absentee ballots in time for the election. The good-government advocacy group Common Cause New York had fielded about 100 complaints about similar issues, largely in New York City, and about some poll sites grappling with spotty wireless service.
It’s not unusual for New York elections to have some...