Connect with Us Facebook Twitter
Elections officials say disabled voters will have access to electronic devices at each poll site this year so that they can submit paper ballots for the September primary, even though inaccessible lever voting machines are being brought back.
A spokeswoman for the city's Board of Elections said in a statement today that ballot marking devices would allow "all voters, including voters with disabilities, to vote privately and independently at their poll site" on Election Day.
The Gotham Gazette reported yesterday that the BOE could face legal action from advocates for the disabled over its plan to bring back lever voting machines.
James Weisman, senior vice president and senior counsel at the United Spinal Association, told the Gotham Gazette that his organization was considering taking legal steps to stop the BOE from using the machines.
He said disabled voters would face physical challenges to using the lever voting machines.
UPDATED: Board of Elections Says Disabled Voters Will Get Help-at Polls
The Board of Elections is bracing for any potential lawsuits over its plan to bring back lever voting machines for the primary and possible runoff.
The BOE's commissioners voted to pass a revised resolution on the plan for the lever voting machines at a public meeting today, with Board President Frederic M. Umane saying that new language would be "helpful" in case the agency got sued over the plan.
"It's been suggested that there could be litigation over this and it might be helpful to lay out and delineate, to a greater extent than what we did last week, some of the concerns and reasons why we want to be using the lever machines and not the optical scanners," Umane said earlier today before the commissioners voted to approve.
Civil rights and good government groups have criticized the plan for bringing back the lever voting machines. The BOE has said that the optical voting machines are too unwieldy to use for the mayoral primary this year or for the runoff.
A lack of cooperation appears to be stalling an investigation — before it even begins — into allegations of possible waste and abuse at the city's Board of Elections.
An attorney for the BOE said at a hearing of the agency's commissioners that he and another attorney had refused a request for full access to employees by the Department of Investigation, which is spearheading the investigation.
Asking that DOI send any future requests in writing, BOE attorney Steve Richman also told the commissioners that his legal team criticized what they considered the possible political motivations behind the investigation.
They told the DOI representatives during a closed-door meeting that "it is beyond dispute that the mayor is not a fan of the board," BOE attorney Steve Richman told the commissioners. The legal team also pointed to a recent DOI report on the agency's handling of the 2011 election, which they said was "unfair, biased and did not tell the complete story." "I agreed that if that report is any indication of how the board would be treated in the future by DOI, the board’s concerns are entirely justified," Richman said at the BOE meeting on July 9.
The DOI would not confirm Richman's account.
Continuing his comeback to the public realm, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer released an ebook with advice on life to coincide with his campaign for city comptroller.
In the $9.99 book, titled "Protecting Capitalism Case By Case," he warns against hubris. "Our sense of self-importance is not only grossly overrated but can generate a dangerous arrogance in decision-making that often ends poorly," he writes.
Spitzer, who resigned as governor amidst a prostitution scandal in 2008, hit on that theme during an appearance on Jay Leno on Friday. "People who fall prey to hubris, end up falling themselves," Spitzer told Leno. "And this is something that I think infected me."
The New York Times looks at the reaction from Spitzer's opponent for the Democratic nomination, Scott Stringer, who had been expected to win the race easily until the former governor got into the election.
Members of the business community and others continued to cringe at the idea of Spitzer becoming comptroller and the equally scandal tarnished Anthony Weiner becoming mayor. "The prospect of two men with outsize egos and reputations as political wrecking balls running the city is perhaps an even greater concern," reports Andrew J. Hawkins of Crain's New York Business.
New York is the only state in the nation besides North Carolina that prosecutes 16 and 17 year olds in the adult criminal justice system.
The result? Over 45,000 16 and 17 year olds a year are arrested as adults. Many of them go into the adult prison system and advocates say their lives are then irreversibly changed by the experience — and not for the good.
Juvenile justice advocates think its time for New York to rethink its laws. Advocates, politicians, faith leaders, judges and the formerly incarcerated rallied outside the New York Metropolitan Corrections Center yesterday to kick off a campaign to change state law.
“We should be providing our youth the support and services they need to overcome challenges and be successful, not prosecuting and incarcerating them as adults,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, at the rally. “The time to end this cruel, wasteful and destructive practice is long overdue."
Advocates say that statistics shows 70 percent of those under 18 who are arrested are black and Latino. That group makes up 80 percent of teens who are incarcerated.