Velázquez Calls for Federal Election Monitors in June 28th Primary
Letter Follows Report of BK Voter Purge Impacting Latinos, 7th District Voters
Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice provide federal election monitors for next week’s June 28th Congressional primary in New York City.
In a letter today to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Velázquez noted that recent media reports have found last summer’s purge of voters in Brooklyn disproportionately affected Latino voters and voters in New York’s 7th District, which Velázquez represents.
“Given the pervasive pattern of problems, it is difficult to have confidence that voters will not encounter other difficulties and barriers when heading to the polls next Tuesday,” Velázquez wrote. “Assigning federal election monitors would help protect the most fundamental right of voters in my district on election day.”
The full text of Velázquez’s letter is below.
June 21, 2016
The Honorable Loretta E. Lynch
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Lynch,
I am writing you with great urgency to ask that you assign federal election monitors to oversee the elections occurring next Tuesday, June 28, in New York’s 7th congressional district, which I represent in the U.S. Congress. Evidence uncovered today suggests that the potentially illegal voter purges that occurred during 2015 have been substantially concentrated in my district in the areas of Sunset Park, East New York, and parts of Bushwick and Williamsburg. This suggests a targeted pattern of voter suppression and therefore an urgent need for federal oversight of the elections occurring in the 7th congressional district.
The sheer volume of purged voters in the 7th congressional district is staggering and incomprehensible. According to analysis released today by WNYC, the New York City Board of Elections removed a total of 122,454 voters on June 18, 2015 and July 5, 2015 from the rolls of registered voters in Brooklyn. This represented nearly 10 percent of voters registered the year prior. Even more concerning is that it appears that these purges targeted Hispanic voters. According to WNYC, 13.9 percent of voters in Hispanic-majority election districts were purged, compared to 8.7 percent of voters in all other election districts. The result is that voters in Hispanic-majority election districts were removed at a rate nearly 60 percent greater than other districts.
Moreover, according to WNYC, voters in New York’s 7th district were disproportionately impacted. WNYC reported that the number of purged voters in congressional district 7 constituted the highest percentage among the six congressional districts that include Brooklyn, and a rate about 25 percent greater than the rest of Brooklyn, which had 8.8 percent of voters purged.
As a result of the sheer volume of purged voters in such a small area, it is imperative that the U.S. Department of Justice assign federal monitors at polling locations in the New York’s 7th congressional district, especially those located in heavily Hispanic areas. Doing so is necessary to protect New Yorkers’ right to vote. Given the pervasive pattern of problems, it is difficult to have confidence that voters will not encounter other difficulties and barriers when heading to the polls next Tuesday. Assigning federal election monitors would help protect the most fundamental right of voters in my district on election day.
Nydia M. Velázquez
Member of Congress
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