• Some ballots mailed to voters in Queens were labeled for military personnel while voters in Brooklyn received ballots with mislabled return envelopes
  • New York elections officials pledged to fix the errors
  • A Republican lawyer arguing against expanded mail-in voting told a court it doesn't matter if there's no proof of widespread fraud in absentee voting

Some New York voters who planned to vote by mail may be forced to rethink their decision: An error by a printer could lead to ballots being invalidated. This comes as hundreds of state and federal lawsuits against expanded mail-in voting are circulating through courts in 44 states just five weeks before voters select the next president.

Some voters in New York’s Queens burough reported receiving mail in ballots whose return envelopes were mismarked for members of the military, the New York Post reported. The Gothamist reported some of the ballots delivered in Brooklyn had the wrong name and address on the return envelope.

Though the envelopes with the military designation may not make a difference since the New York Board of Elections uses the same ballot for both military members and civilians, the mix-ups add fuel to President Trump’s criticism of the process, which he alleges will lead to widespread fraud.

“There’s just mass confusion about these ballots and what people are supposed to do with them,” New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told the New York Post. “People were already not trusting this process and they were already not trusting the Board of Elections to count the ballots right.”

Van Braemer said the printer was supposed to insert a slash between military and absentee on the envelope.

“Did no one proof this?” he asked.

Elections officials have mailed more than a half-million ballots. It was unclear how many had the printing error.

The Gothamist said the Board of Elections learned of the Brooklyn errors on Saturday.

“We will ensure on behalf of the voters in Brooklyn that the proper ballots and ballot envelopes are in the hands of the voters in advance of Election Day so they can vote,” Executive Director Michael Ryan told the Gothamist. “This problem will get corrected.”

“My heart just started sinking because I’m sitting there thinking, if they sent out half-a-million ballots already to the wrong place, that’s going to cause a huge problem to claw them all back,” said psychiatrist Jeremy Klopman, who tried to call the voting hotline after receiving his ballot and found 79 people ahead of him in the queue. “There’s definitely a sinking feeling.”

Court battles have been raging across the country, with Republicans arguing voter fraud despite studies by experts indicating there has been no widespread fraud in states that have been conducting mail-in balloting for years and assurances from boards of elections that they have sufficient safeguards in place.

The Washington Post reported judges do not appear to be accepting the fraud arguments in the 90 cases the newspaper reviewed but have ordered tweaks to the process and in a Texas case managed to declare fear of coronavirus exposure insufficient for requesting an absentee ballot.

In at least one case, a GOP lawyer argued whether there has been widespread fraud in mail-in balloting is irrelevant to the question of whether the expansion should be permitted during a public health crisis. Court filings indicate Republican lawyers could point to only minor and isolated instances of fraud.

“When actual judges are reviewing cases, they demand — whether you’re progressive or conservative — actual facts. And the courts have not been kind to the unsupported claims of, ‘There’s going to be fraud,’ all-caps, exclamation points everywhere,” Loyola Law School Professor Justin Levitt told the Post.

Trump already has said he plans to challenge election results in states where he is not declared the winner.