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Pols Push for Board of Elections Overhaul

After many New Yorkers dealt with problems at their polling sites on Tuesday, officials agree that the election system needs some work.

After many New Yorkers dealt with at polling locations on Tuesday, elected officials and government watchdog groups are pushing for an election process overhaul, according to the New York Times.

“It’s time for a comprehensive scrutiny of the way we handle elections in this city and state,” Jerry Goldfeder, one of the state’s prominent election lawyers, told the Times.

Christine Quinn, current City Council speaker and possible mayoral contender, said the city’s election process needed a “major soup-to-nuts overhaul” and that the Council had plans to lobby Albany for change.

On Wednesday City Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Ditmas Park, said the board, "succeeded at failing beyond [his] wildest expectations."

But overhauling the process may not be so simple.

The State Constitution outlines how state elections are managed, requiring that Republicans and Democrats be equally represented at all levels of election administration. In New York City, the 10 Board of Elections members are recommended by the Democratic and Republican Party committees in each of the five boroughs and then confirmed by the City Council. Both parties are also in charge to choosing staff members.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a vocal critic of the Board of Elections, argued that the system is set up so that it’s “county leaders picking their buddies” to oversee the voting process. 

Changing this system would require state legislation, if not an amendment to the State Constitution, according to the paper.

Some elected officials have suggested changes on a smaller-scale that would make voting in New York easier.

Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Assembly; Bill de Blasio, public advocate; and Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President, all endorse allowing early voting – de Blasio would also like to see legislation allowing same-day voter registration, as well.

City Council will hold a hearing on Dec. 5 to look at Election Day problems, which included that caused a wait of hours for many New Yorkers to vote.

What was your Election Day experience? Do you think New Yorkers will be too disenfranchised to vote in the next election after the problems this year? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Mark November 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I agree. Stop using our tax dollars to pay Democratic and Republican political operatives to run (mess up) our elections. Should be nonpartisan administration of voting, not by people manipulating the vote turnout to ensure their candidates win and the patronage keeps on floating. This was a huge problem nationwide this year. Seems like it managed to get worse after all the political screaming over the mess in Florida in 2000. Way too much political effort spent on voter id rules to prevent people from voting rather than ensuring that the people and not the politicians get to decide who controls our government. This is one thing Bloomberg could deliver on with his billion dollars and no real ties to the two parties. Something to atone for his third term mismanagement.
Scottilla November 08, 2012 at 04:35 PM
On Tuesday evening at about 6:30 I walked past PS 152. The line was out the door on E 23rd between Glenwood and Campus, back to Glenwood then all the way to E 24th. It was dark, so I didn't see where it went from there. There is no reason for lines like that in this day and age. People have enough excuses for not voting. Impossible difficulty should not be one of them.
Patricia Fabricant November 09, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Waited nearly two hours. My district is too large, the lines for other districts at my polling place were much more reasonable.

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