Thursday, August 9, 2012

New York's Board Of Elections Is A Disorganized Mess

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2012 at 2:00 PM

voting-booths-2010_medium_image.jpg
  • WNYC
Now that we have you feeling really good about Brooklyn's electoral process and elected officials, let's bring this lovefest down a notch with a look at New York's Board of Elections, which is apparently an unmitigated disaster.

One time, they accidentally didn't count Christine Quinn's vote. Or make it possible for handicapped people to actually get into polling locations. Or do anything at all to accommodate Spanish-speaking voters. As such, they're in a bit of hot water now.

"You screwed up," Councilwoman Jessica S. Lappin told Election Board officials at a City Council hearing yesterday. "This is the foundation of our democracy, and I don't want excuses. I want you to do your jobs well."

Mayor Bloomberg was slightly less aggressive, but still pretty harsh in comments made separately from the hearing: “The bottom line is, it’s not working well. I think you saw that in the last election. Let’s fix it rather than point fingers.”

Members of the City Council took the Board of Elections to task for everything from counting votes too slowly to actually transferring Spanish-speaking election workers away from heavily Latino districts, where they would have been able to provide information and translations to voters.

It was also ruled yesterday that the Board violated the Americans With Disabilities Act for not providing adequate handicapped access to polling stations.

So what does the Board have to say for itself?

That it's all the media's fault.

"Sadly, some members of the media no longer rely on facts or seek to expose the truth, but rather seize on false and sensational allegations promoted by certain candidates for the sole purpose of increasing their name identification," sniped the Board's deputy executive director Dawn Sandow.

Hey, that's not fair, we only ever say really nice stuff about you guys! Well, except right now, since it objectively kind of looks like you're actively getting in the way of democracy.

In any case, the Board does has some plans for improvements, such as tallying votes digitally instead of by hand when determining preliminary results. What innovations will they think of next?

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About The Author

Virginia K. Smith

Virginia K. Smith

Bio:
Virginia K. Smith is the Assistant Editor at The L Magazine and a Bushwick resident. Her profile picture was taken at Summerscreen, because she is a real team player.

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