Speed Reads

The more you know

850 voters in NYC are registered as 164 years old

The New York Post reported last week that the birth date of a 73-year-old voter who has been living and voting in The Bronx since the 1970s was recorded as Jan. 1, 1850 on official voting records. The revelation led the Board of Elections officials to review their files and discover something curious — "another 849 New Yorkers who were supposedly alive when Abe Lincoln was president."

Board officials say that these 850 supposed centenarians are the result of a glitch that happened because of a "leftover vestige from a bygone age." New York City residents weren't always required to provide their exact birthdays when registering to vote. Because voting records are open to the public, some new voters (mostly women) "simply wrote that they were '21+.'"

When the system switched over to a computerized database in 1999 and 2006, officials sent out notices to those without exact birth dates recorded, asking them to provide their real birth dates. But since most ignored the requests, they were grandfathered into the new electronic system with the birth date of Jan. 1, 1850.

Officials say the issue is "a little quirk in the system," and that with more than 4 million registered voters, the problem "is not widespread."

The Board of Elections commissioners discussed ways to fix the problem, which they will address after the midterm elections.