12:42 pm Jul. 3, 20121
Unlike most New Yorkers, Hector Cordero was very excited about Primary Day.
"Time to go vote!" he wrote on Twitter, shortly before heading over to P.S. 57 in East Harlem on Tuesday. "Who will it be? #Espaillat? #Rangel? #Williams? it is a good race for Congress in the Upper #Manhattan district! Any ideas?"
When Cordero, a Baruch College professor, got to the school, he was stopped by an election worker. As he recalled, it took about 15 minutes for the worker to find his name in the list of registered voters in the 13th congressional district.
Then, after she found his name, the poll worker asked him for his ID.
Under New York State Election Law section 8-302, voters can only be asked for identification if they are new voters and have not submitted proof of their identity to the Board of Elections. Asking a voter for proof of their identity in any other circumstance is illegal.
Asked about Cordero's story, a spokeswoman for the New York City Board of Elections declined to talk about any specific allegation, but said that due to a recent change in federal law, only some first-time voters who registered by mail may have been asked for photo identification or to submit some form of government identification.
The Espaillat campaign is challenging the results of the election, which Rangel led by 802 votes at last count, saying that the tally was botched by the Board of Elections and that like Espaillat voters were prevented from casting their votes.
Cordero said that in his case, the poll worker who asked for his ID was an older African-American woman who simply seemed not to know terribly well what she was doing.
But Cordero also said, "There is a more general question about whether voting for Hispanics was a little bit harder than it should have been."