N.Y. Accused of Denying Too Many Absentee Ballots Without Fixes

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New York election officials were sued for allegedly violating the rights of voters by rejecting mail-in ballots at one of the highest rates in the U.S. without giving voters a chance to address possible irregularities.

“Tens of thousands of voters are disenfranchised each election in New York without so much as a notice,” the League of Women Voters of the United States said in a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan.

The voter organization alleges that in 2018 alone, New York rejected almost 14% of the absentee ballots it received -- the highest rate in the U.S. The lawsuit seeks to force the state to give voters a chance to fix any problems with their ballots, including signatures that don’t appear to match.

An individual plaintiff in the case, Carmelina Palmer, can’t execute a consistent signature due to a progressive neurological condition and fears her signature will be rejected because she is unable to vote in person out of fear of catching the coronavirus, according to the complaint.

A phone message left for the commissioners of the state board of elections wasn’t immediately returned.

While the suit targets a solidly Democratic state, similar legal fights are occurring across the U.S. that generally pit Republicans seeking limits on mail-in ballots against Democrats who want them used more widely. President Donald Trump has claimed -- without evidence -- that mail-in ballots will lead to massive voter fraud benefiting his rival Joe Biden.

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