F**k Sanders, says Clinton aide, bragging "We kicked his a**" after massive voter purges and irregularities in NY primary

Hillary staffer gloated to Politico reporter after beating Bernie in NY, amid accusations of voting problems

Published April 20, 2016 8:45PM (EDT)

Hillary Clinton   (Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk)
Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk)

“We kicked his a** tonight,” bragged a senior Hillary Clinton aide.

“I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, f**k him.”

A Politico reporter says this is what he was told Tuesday night, after Clinton won the New York primary, with around 58 percent of the vote to Sanders' 42 percent.

Sanders won the vast majority of New York state, but Clinton won the densely populated urban areas, particularly New York City. In Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, the candidates were neck-and-neck, but Clinton pulled just ahead.

Voting day was plagued with enormous problems, leading to widespread accusations of voter suppression and disenfranchisement.

Since last fall, the New York Board of Elections mysteriously purged more than 125,000 Brooklyn Democrats from the voting records without their knowledge.

Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that there had been “purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists.”

The New York City watchdog, Comptroller Scott Stringer, said all of this happened “without any adequate explanation furnished by the Board of Elections.”

There were also countless reports that residents were given wrong voting information, people were sent to wrong polling locations, voters were forced to fill out affidavit ballots that may not count, poll workers did not know how to operate the voting machines and voting machines were broken.

The complaint hotline was flooded with 468 percent more complaints than in the 2012 primary. The office said it was "by far the largest volume of complaints we have received for an election since" since Attorney General Eric Schneiderman entered his position.

Stringer condemned the massive "irregularities" and vowed to audit the election board.

"Election after election, reports come in of people who were inexplicably purged from the polls, told to vote at the wrong location or unable to get in to their polling site," the city watchdog said.

Stringer went on public radio station WYNC explaining "we need to reform the Board of Elections."

A group of New Yorkers who were purged from the voting records sued the government in an attempt to get back their right to vote.

A New York federal district court judge did not rule to open the primary or issue an order to count provisional ballots, instead leaving electoral decisions up to New York's counties, "essentially kick[ing] the ball down the road."

And these are just the voters who were registered with a dominant party.

New York is one of only 11 U.S. states that has a closed primary, meaning residents who are not registered with the Democratic or Republican Parties cannot participate.

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of New York’s registered voters were therefore unable to vote in the primary. Because they were registered either as independents or with third parties, 3.2 million New Yorkers were left without a voice.

Salon contacted the New York City Board of Elections, asking if there was any way for independents to vote. The office spokesperson bluntly said “You cannot vote today” and “There’s no way,” before abruptly hanging up.

Some groups urged independents to vote with provisional ballots, but there is no indication that they will be counted.

In order to participate, voters had to register for a party in October, six months before the primary. And this is not even considering the possibility of being purged from the records.

The Nation flatly stated that New York has “some of the worst voting laws in the country.” It has no early voting, no same-day registration, no pre-registration and no out-of-precinct voting.

North Carolina, in fact, invoked New York laws to justify its own harsh voting restrictions.

Sanders, a Vermont senator who has been elected for decades as an independent, does significantly better with independent voters than Clinton.

Sanders said he commiserated with the more than 3 million New Yorkers who were unable to vote.

By Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton New York New York Primary