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BMHA Bulloxes One Election...

The election for resident commissioner for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority was supposed to have been completed this Tuesday. Instead, the one-week election period in which the public housing residents can mail in their ballots has been extended two weeks.

Why? Because the BMHA failed to mail ballots to an undetermined number of potential voters. The failure came to light because one of the incumbent resident commissioners, Joe Mascia, who lives in the Marine Drive Apartments, did not receive a ballot. His wife did. It turns out he wasn’t the only one: Several of his neighbors complained that only one ballot had been mailed to their apartments, when more than one eligible voter resided there.

This year’s BMHA elections were overseen by the League of Women Voters, but the mailing of ballots was performed by BMHA staff. The LWV told Mascia they’d provided BMHA with ballots for every eligible voter. How they BMHA failed to deliver the ballots is unclear; in a note to Mascia, BMHA’s general counsel, David Rodriguez, blamed the consolidation of data into one central system last fall. “There were some glitches in the system,” Rodriguez wrote, “and we have addressed the situation quickly and equitably. The election will go forth.”

Here’s how it will go forth: The election period will be extended two weeks. Another 500 ballots will be mailed out. (The number struck Mascia as odd: “If you did not know that the ballots did not get mailed, how did you know who would get the ballots this time?” he wrote to Dawn Sanders, BMHA’s executive director. “How did the number of ballots missing add up to 500, not 501, or 512? Why the even number? How many ballots were mailed originally?”) Notice of the extension and the additional ballots has been given to the four candidates for the two resident commissioners, though no notice has been given to the residents themselves.

Think the eventual losers might have a lawsuit? Rodriguez did not return a call asking for comment on the matter.

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