It's difficult to keep track of all the "shenanigans" which took place across the country over the course of last year's Democratic primaries: Tallies vanishing in Iowa, blatant electioneering in Massachusetts, buses full of unregistered voters caucusing in Nevada, whatever the hell happened in Arizona — we still don't know — we could drone on and on...
Then there's the New York primary, which was a must-win for Clinton, and, as expected, was also rife with foul play.
The first head has rolled after more than 100,000 voters were mistakenly purged from the Brooklyn voter rolls ahead of this week's New York primary, which handed Hillary Clinton a much-needed win over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the chief clerk of the New York Board of Elections, was suspended "without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal investigation into the administration of the voter rolls in the Borough of Brooklyn," the agency said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News.
Anonymous city elections officials said Haslett-Rudiano, who was in charge of the city's Republican voter rolls, had been "scapegoated," according to the New York Post. "It sounds like they cut a deal to make the Republican the scapegoat and protect Betty Ann," an anonymous Democratic elected official from Brooklyn told the Post, referring to Betty Ann Canizio, who was in charge of the Democratic voter rolls.
On the day of the primary, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, a Clinton supporter, said he'd heard reports of the "purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists." He said, "The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process."
New York State Board of Elections spokesman Thomas Connolly told Think Progress thateach complaint he'd followed up on had been due to a mistake on the voter's part. "I've yet to come across [a voter registration] that's been maliciously changed," he said. "There's always been a legitimate reason."
A few important things to remember from this excerpt, which we'll return to shortly: 1. A Republican not in charge of the Democratic voter rolles was scapegoated for purges done by an Democratic Party official. 2. The NYC Board of Elections say they purged "inactive" voters, but even DeBlasio confirms that entire buildings and blocks were purged. Are we to believe that inactive voters congregate and live together in the same buildings/neighborhoods? 3. Thomas Connolly is about to eat his own words, because last week it was announced that:
The U.S. Justice Department is joining in on a lawsuit accusing the city Board of Elections of breaking the law when it purged almost 120,000 voters in Brooklyn from the rolls ahead of the April 2016 presidential primary. The DOJ filed a motion to intervene yesterday in a federal lawsuit brought last year by the good-government group Common Cause.
In their filing, the feds accuse the BOE of repeated violations of portions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 governing voter list maintenance.
New York law requires county voter registration systems to sync with the state Board of Elections' database at least every 24 hours, but the New York City Elections Board failed to notify the state of its mass purge for at least six months, according to the DOJ. As a result, throughout 2015 and into early 2016, as the primaries took shape and became so contentious that New York's mattered to the outcome of the presidential nominations, purged voters who checked their registration status through the state's online database would have found themselves listed as active.
In other words, more than 120,000 voters in perhaps the most left-wing (see: pro-Bernie) part of the state were purged and there was no way for them to know until it was too late.
Clinton won the state by well over 120,000 votes, but the voter purge in Brooklyn was just one of many examples of election day shenanigans which took place during the New York Primary.
Ultimately, the question is whether the Democrats were capable of recognizing that Clinton would have issues in her adopted "home state", and able to take corrective measures ahead of the primary.
On the one hand, the DNC is basically a criminal enterprise. On the other hand, they're totally incompetent.