New York’s unprecedented Presidential Primary led to some unprecedented confusion at the polls

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–New York’s unprecedented Presidential Primary led to some unprecedented confusion at the polls, in many parts of the state.

The sheer number of ballots elections officials had to keep up with, led to Election Day turmoil.

Ever since a federal appeals court ordered New York the Presidential Primary reinstated back in May, elections officials across the state have been burning the midnight oil getting ready for as many three separate elections.

Erie County had all three, but for as many as seven different political parties.  

Erie County Democrats had got a ballot for the Presidential Primary, but only those Republicans who live in the 27th Congressional District got to vote in that primary.

And Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr says there were separate primaries for five minor parties.

“Some of the inspectors had seven to eight books in front of them, had as many ballots in front of them as well,” Mohr said.

While in some corners of Erie County party faithful had no one to vote for.

Mohr added, “There may have been some confusion in the beginning because, quite frankly, it has been many, many years since we have run two elections at the same time, never three.”

But some voters had to work hard to ensure their right to vote, such as a Facebook poster in the Southtowns who said she had to call the Board of Elections to get her ballot for the presidential primary, which was tucked away in a box full of ballots.

“But some inspectors are stuck in their ways and this is an unprecedented time, and this is the first time we have had four elections happening in one day.”

Commissioner Jeremy Zellner said, Erie County’s issues at the polls paled in comparison to other parts of the state.

“I think you are seeing around the state major problems across the state, and we don’t see those here. It is because our staff is the best in the state, and we work hard every year for the people of this county,” Zellner added.

And Mohr said even on those issues where he personally intervened.

“I went out there as well. By the time I had gone out to the poll site, the inspectors were doing it properly.”

With more time to prepare, and a more traditional format, the Board of Elections is expecting the general elections in November to be a bit more orderly.

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