Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump were favored to win their parties' U.S. presidential nominating contests in New York state on Tuesday, but voting was overshadowed by official confirmation that more than 125,000 people were missing from New York City voter rolls and reports of other irregularities.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer ordered an audit of the city elections board after it confirmed the names had been removed from voter rolls.
The city has roughly 4 million voters considered active for the presidential primaries.
Stringer complained in a letter to the board that it was "consistently disorganized, chaotic and inefficient." He cited faulty ballot scanners, late-opening polling stations and scant staffing.
Opinion polls in New York put Clinton, 68, a former U.S. senator from the state, ahead of Brooklyn-born U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, 74, of Vermont in the Democratic race. The state has been the scene of some of their harshest exchanges during a long campaign.
Clinton hopes to recapture the momentum she lost to Sanders, winner of seven of the last eight state-by-state nominating contests.
"Any double-digit win would really reassure everybody that the (Clinton) campaign is reaching the voters who are going to be the people in November that are going to carry her to victory," said Dan Fass, a longtime Democratic donor in Rye, New York.
Last week, after the Democratic candidates debated in Brooklyn, Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri sought to play down expectations by expressing skepticism about the accuracy of some polls showing Clinton with a double-digit lead.
"We are always cautioning people to not put a lot of stock into public polls and particularly ones that show big leads," Palmieri said.
Clinton has 1,758 of the 2,383 party convention delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination to Sanders' 1,076 delegates, according to an Associated Press tally.
A total of 291 delegates are up for grabs in New York, and a big Clinton win there could make her delegate lead nearly insurmountable.
During the Democrats' July 25-28 convention, the delegates will select the party's nominee to the November 8th presidential election.
In Democratic nominating contests, pledged delegates are awarded proportionate to the support a candidate receives in each state, while superdelegates, who make up a smaller proportion, can support any candidate.[Feature Image Courtesy Observer.com]