Anti-Engel wave in Election District 66 raises eyebrows
By Adam Wisnieski
Aniello Grimaldi creamed Rep. Eliot Engel, 31 votes to 0, in one Riverdale election district on June 26.
Though the exact cause is still not known, Mr. Engel’s staffers hypothesize that the Election District 66 results from the Democratic primary for Congressional District 16 were reversed because the candidates names were printed in the wrong order on the ballots.
Mr. Engel contends he actually won every last vote in what’s known as the estate area.
According to BOE protocol, the order in which names are printed in a two-person race is determined by a coin toss. Mr. Engel won, but on June 13, the BOE misprinted the ballots with Mr. Grimaldi’s name first, according to BOE spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez. The ballots were reprinted days later, she said, and then tested on the scanners.
But it seems as though Election District 66 may have gotten the old, misprinted ballots.
In that case, when ballots were scanned, they would have been counted as votes for Mr. Grimaldi.
Marcia Allina, who lives on Palisade Avenue in Election District 66, is a prominent member of the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club, of which Mr. Engel is a leader. She also petitioned for Mr. Engel in this election and says she voted for Mr. Engel.
“That’s impossible … I voted for Eliot and I carried a petition for Eliot,” she said of the 100 percent vote for Mr. Grimaldi. “I’m stunned.”
When reached on Friday, Ms. Vazquez said the BOE needed more time to investigate the matter.
Seeing as Mr. Engel won by a landslide, the error will not change the outcome of the race. Still, Mr. Engel said he was concerned.
“It’s very scary,” he said. “It matters in the future.”
The confusion is also significant because next door, in Congressional District 13, problems that took place on election night have still not been resolved.