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U.S. Justice Department and Oneida County Board of Elections reach agreement, consent decree

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UTICA, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Justice has reached an agreement with the Oneida County Board of Elections over voter registrations and provisional ballots. 

The Department had said in March of 2021, that if a settlement was not reached, then it would plan to sue the board over violations. Those stemmed from thousands of voter registration applications that were not processed in time for the Nov. 2020 general election, in addition to the rejection of hundreds of affidavit ballots submitted at county polling locations. 

The Justice Department and the Oneida County Board of Elections filed the proposed consent decree with a federal court on Monday, July 12.

The court must still approve it. 

As part of the consent decree, the county board agreed to create policies and procedures to make sure voter registrations are processed, and to ensure employees are properly trained on provisional ballot requirements. 

They will have to send reports on compliance to the Justice Department. 

During a months-long court battle in the New York State Supreme Court, it was determined that 2,400 voter registrations that had been submitted before the filing deadline, were not processed and added to voter rolls. 

It was later found out that several hundred provisional ballots were rejected without properly being evaluated. 

The discovery of these election law violations came in the course of determining who had won the race for New York's 22nd Congressional District. 

New York State Supreme Court Judge Scott DelConte ruled in February of 2021, that Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney narrowly defeated then-incumbent Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes. 

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