New York Times: Unofficial Tallies in City Understated Obama Vote
Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.(Cough.)
That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district.
City election officials this week said that their formal review of the results, which will not be completed for weeks, had confirmed some major discrepancies between the vote totals reported publicly — and unofficially — on primary night and the actual tally on hundreds of voting machines across the city.
In the Harlem district, for instance, where the primary night returns suggested a 141 to 0 sweep by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the vote now stands at 261 to 136. In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.
The history of New York elections has been punctuated by episodes of confusion, incompetence and even occasional corruption. And election officials and lawyers for both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton agree that it is not uncommon for mistakes to be made by weary inspectors rushing on election night to transcribe columns of numbers that are delivered first to the police and then to the news media.
That said, in a presidential campaign in which every vote at the Democratic National Convention may count, a swing of even a couple of hundred votes in New York might help Mr. Obama gain a few additional delegates. . . .
A number of political leaders also scoffed at the possibility that local politicians, even if they considered it vital that Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton prevail in the primary, were capable of even trying to hijack such a contest.
Still, for those inclined to consider conspiracy theories, the figures provided plenty of grist.
The 94th Election District in Harlem, for instance, sits within the Congressional district represented by Charles B. Rangel, an original supporter of Mrs. Clinton.
Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright, a Clinton supporter who represents the same area, said he was confident that there was an innocent explanation for the original count giving Mr. Obama zero votes.
“I’m sure it’s a clerical error of some sort,” Mr. Wright said.
But to be fair:
City election officials said they were convinced that there was nothing sinister to account for the inaccurate initial counts, and The Times’s review found a handful of election districts in the city where Mrs. Clinton received zero votes in the initial results.If New York City election officials say it's okay, then I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.