A longtime New York City elections official was suspended without pay Thursday, allegedly for removing the names of more than 100,000 Brooklyn Democrats from the voter rolls in what has been described as a clerical error.
Borough Office Chief Clerk Diane Haslett-Rudiano’s immediate suspension will remain in place pending an internal investigation.
"The board will fully cooperate with the investigations currently being conducted by the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the Office of the New York City Comptroller," the city’s Board of Elections said in a news release posted by WABC News.
Anonymous sources told the New York Daily News that Haslett-Rudiano would be forced out of her position over the voter roll debacle, which saw a staggering 8 percent of Brooklyn’s more than 1.2 million registered Democrats, or 102,717 people, purged from the city’s election rolls between Oct. 31 and April 2. Kings County (Brooklyn) was the only one in New York state that had voters purged in that period.
The mishap has been characterized by anonymous sources as a clerical error in which Haslett-Rudiano allegedly skipped an important step in a system designed to periodically remove voters who have died, moved away or become ineligible to vote for other reasons. She has worked at the local election board since 1999.
It’s not clear if the purge had much effect on the results of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary in New York state, in which former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the state (and Brooklyn, also known as Kings County) by a wide margin.
The news comes a day after state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office initiated an investigation into the conduct of the city’s elections board.
"The administration of the voter rolls in Brooklyn is of major concern to our office and is a focus of our investigation," Schneiderman said in a statement to WABC after Haslett-Rudiano’s suspension was announced.
Schneiderman said his office could expand its investigation to other parts of the state. His office received more than 1,000 complaints of voting irregularities, including polling stations that didn’t open on time and erroneous primary notifications.
On Tuesday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced his office too is investigating the local Election Board. Initial reports said more than 125,000 Brooklyn Democrats had been purged from the polls.