Citing voter suppression, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) has asked the Justice Department to step in and oversee her primary election next week.
According to a WNYC-FM report Tuesday, two massive illegal purges of Brooklyn voters removed at least 120,000 voters from the system — disproportionately effecting Hispanic voters.
In a letter to Attorney Gen. Loretta Lynch Tuesday, Velázquez requested the DOJ “assign federal election monitors” to oversee her June 28 primary, especially in heavily Hispanic polling areas. These monitors, she said, are “necessary to protect New Yorkers’ right to vote.”
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 13: Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., speaks at a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on reduction of the national debt and job creation. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) speaks at a news conference. (Getty Images/Tom Williams)
“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.”
However, Velázquez’s Democratic opponents aren’t taking her request seriously.
“For years, Rep. Nydia Velázquez has been getting re-elected through low-turnout elections,” Jeff Kurzon, a Democratic challenger, said in a statement. “Now she’s on a crusade to end voter suppression? What a joke.”
Kurzon told TheBlaze that when he ran for office in 2014, only 4 percent of eligible registered Democratic voters turned out for that election. Velázquez, he said, “didn’t make any comment about that” then.
Velázquez’s call for election monitors seems like a “stunt,” Kurzon said as he contended that while there should be a further investigation into the the voter purge, he has “no doubt’ that the Board of Elections can manage the upcoming primary without issue.
A press release from Kurzon’s campaign noted that after the voter purge was discovered, two clerks at the Brooklyn Board of Elections office were suspended without pay. One of those officials, the press release said, has “intricate ties” to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, whom Velázquez has endorsed.
“Rep. Velázquez only cares now that the primary is a week away,” Kurzon said.
Michael Tobman, spokesperson for Yungman Lee, a community banker who is also running for Velázquez’s seat, decried the congresswoman’s call for the federal government’s help, saying his campaign has “every confidence” that the Board of Elections has addressed the incident that occurred during the April 19 presidential primary.
“Every Democrat should be assured that their vote will be counted,” Tobman told Kings County Politics. “Calling for Election Monitors is an old, cynical ploy.”
Velázquez’s office did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.