Displacement and an overwhelmed system in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy definitely played a factor in Tuesday’s long, disorganized election process in New York, but now that civic duties are done and everyone’s good and crotchety about this cruelly unnecessary snow, politicians are reminding everyone what the real problem was: New York’s Board of Elections is a total fucking mess to begin with.
Echoing sentiments from a contentious August hearing on the BOE’s almost comical (you know, if it weren’t so terrible) string of failures, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane D. Williams spent election day angrily tweeting at the BOE with pictures of long lines and complaints about untrained poll workers, and later told Gothamist:
I didn’t think the Board of Elections could do a worse job than they did on Primary Day, but they succeeded at failing beyond my wildest expectations. For voters to believe that there is a conspiracy to disenfranchise them reveals a crisis in our democracy. Hurricane Sandy was an unfortunate obstacle, but the conditions I witnessed make it obvious that the problems went beyond this storm. [...] No more excuses, it’s time for a complete overhaul.
Mayor Bloomberg — who (very illegally) had to find his own name on the roster when a poll worker got “flustered” yesterday — was similarly unimpressed, saying, “The system is as poorly designed a system as we have … computers do everything, and yet we’ve gone to a paper system.”
Bloomberg went on to criticize the Board’s political process, which allows party bosses to appoint cronies as BOE commissioners, and slammed this past election day as “chaos… it was a nightmare.”
Not exactly heartening, but I guess if you waited in line for 3 hours yesterday or had a confused poll worker mistakenly direct you to a different site (we’ve heard multiple reports of this), take some small comfort in knowing politicians are pissed on your behalf.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.