At Board of Elections, a Reluctance to Assume Blame for Vote Count Problems

Written by City & State on . Posted in Politics.


New York City Board of Elections Commissioners are blaming Albany for what went wrong with the city’s primary elections on June 26th, citing lawmakers’ failure to pass a bill changing the vote-tally process during this year’s session.

“One of the things we’ve pushed for at the BOE is to figure out a brand new way of closing these procedures to minimize the potential error that could arise,” said Commissioner J.C. Polanco at a BOE Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“Unfortunately, the legislature didn’t move on any of those concerns,” he said.

The Board has been widely criticized for its handling of this primary and past elections, and State Sen. Adriano Espaillat is using vote-count errors and other reported “irregularities” from primary night as grounds for a legal challenge to the primary results, which his attorney Martin Connor filed in New York State Supreme Court today. A group called LatinoJustice is also asking the Department of Justice to investigate the Board of Elections’ handling of the primary.

Polanco deflected criticism that BOE was to blame for any of the reported problems, including stories of a shortage of bilingual poll-workers and voters turned away from polling sites, in addition to the uncounted ballots.

“What you saw that night was reporting done by the AP from numbers given to them by the NYPD,” Polanco said, adding that the NYPD was “not at all” to blame for what happened.

Polanco said the BOE was being unfairly maligned by the campaigns.

“I think its unfortunate. What’s happening is the campaigns are launching incredible vicious attacks to the hardworking men and women here at the board of elections,  and they’re based on absolutely nothing but a conspiracy theory,” he said.

“The reality is we have hardworking men and women here at the Board of Elections that are working tirelessly to make sure that each one of these ballots are counted,” he said.

Common Cause executive director Susan Lerner said the primary SNAFUs were “ par for the course.”

“This is an election where we only had a few primaries. Imagine how much worse this is going to be in September,” she said.

To read the full article at City & State click here.

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