1,600 Votes in Brooklyn From Last Year’s Presidential Election Were Only Counted Last Week

Finding renews doubts the board will be able to handle mayoral election later this year.

	US President Barack Obama smiles as First Lady Michelle Obama gives the thumbs-up following Obama's speech on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. President Barack Obama swept to re-election Tuesday, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney.

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images    Almost 6 months after President Obama — seen here with First Lady — began his 2nd term, the votes of some 1,600 Brooklyn residents who went to the polls were not counted until this week.

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This is democracy?

Nearly six months after President Obama began his second term, the votes of some 1,600 Brooklyn residents who went to the polls were not counted until this week, the Daily News has learned.

Good government groups reacted with outrage — saying the bungling raises new questions about the ability of the Board of Elections to conduct an error-free mayoral election later this year.

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would not have won even with the recently discovered votes.

AP    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would not have won even with the recently discovered votes.

“There’s three weeks between the primary and the runoff election, and the board is going to have to perform at an optimal level,” said Alex Camarda, of Citizens Union.

“The fact that they’re discovering these uncounted votes (only now) casts doubt on their ability to do that,” he said. “It diminishes public confidence in the integrity of the election system.”

The board first realized in April that it might have a problem with the November vote tally. An audit discovered a mismatch between the number of Brooklyn voters who signed in at the polls and the number of votes that were counted, officials said.

The City Board of Elections has had trouble running elections efficiently.

The City Board of Elections has had trouble running elections efficiently.

A board investigation narrowed the problem to two optical scanners at two poll sites — Brooklyn Borough Hall and the Carroll Gardens Public Library.

Voters cast ballots on those machines, but the data never got uploaded into the Board of Elections database and the votes were not counted.

In Park Slope, Brooklyn's  P.S. 282, voters waited in long llnes on Election Day Nov. 6, 2012.

Joe Marino/for New York Daily News       In Park Slope, Brooklyn’s  P.S. 282, voters waited in long llnes on Election Day Nov. 6, 2012.

Using the paper trail from the two scanners, officials counted the results by hand, a process only completed last week. Meeting on Tuesday — 238 days after Election Day — the Board of Elections added the totals to the official vote count.

The totals did not change the outcome of any race, from the presidential contest to those further down the ballot. But as history has shown, a tiny margin can have major ramifications in a local election.

In the 2005 Democratic primary for mayor, Fernando Ferrer staved off a runoff by getting just 720 votes more than the 40% he needed to win the race outright.

This is not the first time the Board of Elections has had to update results. 

In March, workers in the agency’s Manhattan office unearthed more than 400 ballots cast in November but which were never tabulated.

With Jordan Melendrez