This post has been updated with the latest
It's been a long time since New York has had a moment in the presidential spotlight. And for election officials hoping to pull off a smooth election with record turnout, it was not a good moment.
Throughout New York City's presidential primary Tuesday, voters reported to local media and city officials just about every voting issue imaginable -- closed polling locations, sites running out of ballots, people told they're not on the voter list, broken machines and even instances of blue pens to mark a black-pen-only ballot.
The epicenter of this election drama is Brooklyn, where officials said some 125,000 voters had been purged from the voting rolls. Tens of thousands of eligible voters seem to have been taken off the list because the state board of elections thought they had moved or saw they hadn't voted in the past two presidential elections or because their cancellation notice had bounced back.
As The Fix's Philip Bump noted, New York's primary rules have a high bar: Voters have to be registered before the prior general election -- in this case, last October.
Reports of voting problems across the city are at best anecdotal right now. But the volume of complaints -- the largest the office of the attorney general has seen in a general election in years -- seems to be notable.
Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan has down played those anecdotes. He told CNN on Tuesday this election wasn't much different than others: "We're not finding that there were issues throughout the city that are any different than what we experience in other elections." He told New York's Fox 5 clearing the voter rules "was part of a routine process. No was disenfranchised."
And that seems to be exactly why city officials got involved quickly -- they say what happened Tuesday was a symptom of a larger systemic problem. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has called for an investigation into what went wrong. In a statement, he alleged that entire city blocks and buildings of voters were inexplicably purged from the lists.
"Major reforms will be needed to the Board of Election and in the state law governing it," he said.
New York City's comptroller, Scott Stringer, said he's going to audit the board of elections to find out what went wrong.
"The next president of the United States could very easily be decided tonight. And yet the incompetence of the Board of Elections puts a cloud over these results," he told reporters at a press conference.
Sen. Bernie Sanders's campaign, which likely would have benefited from the primary opening up to independent voters or at least letting more people vote, called reports of irregularities "a disgrace."
And a voting activist group, Election Justice USA, filed an emergency lawsuit Monday in part to try to let New York voters purged from the rolls (and those who weren't registered for either party) vote. They instructed voters -- particularly Bernie Sanders supporters, who tend to be independents -- to file provisional ballots in the hopes a federal judge would let them be counted. But on Tuesday afternoon, the judge ruled against them. They plan to continue the fight in court.
Election officials say they were prepared for high turnout, but exactly what that means can be tough to measure. As Bump calculated, 3 out of every 1,000 people in New York voted in the 2012 Republican presidential primary. (That was a very different presidential race back then, with Mitt Romney the foregone nominee before New York had a chance to weigh in.)
This time, of course, is different.
As with long lines in the Phoenix area during Arizona's botched presidential primary last month, the fallout over this is likely to last much longer than Election Day. We'll keep you updated on the latest.