voting Tag All blog entries tagged as voting Sun, 10 Aug 2014 15:17:06 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb An App To Engage Voters #NYC2013 The city hopes to get more people engaged in this year's pivotal election with a new web app that aims to benefit both campaigns and voters.

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The web app, named NYC Votes, will streamline campaign donations and also serve as a resource on candidates and the election.

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NYC Votes Candidate Contribution ScreenAn early version of the software was demoed at a public hearing last night where developers showed a simple interface that included a step-by-step process for making donations.

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The software draws from the city's campaign finance data and is expected to be released in two weeks. It will be available on most browser-enabled devices, including phones and tablets.

"We started from the premise of creating a much more seamless, end-to-end experience for participants in the voting process," said Art Chang, the chairman of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee of the city's Campaign Finance Board, which held the hearing and is in charge of developing the software.

The initial goal of the tool, Chang said, was to make "life easier for candidates, for constituents and for the CFB's audit staff," particularly surrounding small donations.

The city's 6-to-1 public matching system is designed to encourage a broad spectrum of people to contribute in small amounts; a $10 donation, for instance, could be worth as much as $70. In 2009, contributions of $175 or less made up nearly 70 percent of all contributions, according to the CFB.

"In the past these contributions have caused a lot of headaches," said Chang, whose firm lent a project manager to the app effort.

NYC Votes overcomes this by handling the credit card processing while also verifying addresses for compliance, enabling virtually any candidate to start taking plastic.

A magnet card swipe reader can also be used with the software, so that even campaign staffers at fundraising events can use their mobile devices to record contributions.

While initially aimed at helping campaigns to deal with donations, developers say they plan to add features in the coming months that will allow voters to find and research candidates; interact over social media; localize their ballot; and get elections results.

The app was developed by the VAAC with the assistance of partners from the city's civic-oriented tech developer community, including Pivotal Labs and Method. TekServe, an Apple sales specialist, has agreed to help candidates get swiping technology working on their devices.

]]> (Administrator) City Tue, 14 May 2013 20:20:31 +0000
Cuomo: Create Independent BOE Enforcement Agency, Open Primaries

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has unveiled three new proposals to deal with corruption in Albany.

Cuomo's first proposal would create an independent enforcement arm in the State Board of Election that is overseen by Democrats and Republicans, who would be able to block investigations.

The governor said the BOE's enforcement has been "toothless," adding that the agency needs reforms "above and beyond this" but said an independent enforcement arm would be a good place to start.

Secondly, Cuomo proposed ending the Wilson Pakula law.

"You've heard of pay-to-play, this is pay-to-run," Cuomo said of the recent case of Sen. Malcolm Smith, who was arrested on allegations he tried to bribe his way onto the Republican line for New York City Mayor.

Cuomo said eliminating Wilson Pakula would allow candidates to run in open primaries. The proposal would not end fusion voting — where candidates can run on multiple party lines.

The governor's third proposal would expedite voter party enrollment, which typically takes until after the next election for a voter's registration to change. Cuomo has proposed making a registration change take three months no matter when it is submitted.

Cuomo indicated that he will be unveiling more proposals and said he has been working with legislators on a campaign finance overhaul. "There is no silver bullet," Cuomo warned.

Meanwhile, the Independent Democratic Conference, Senate Democrats and Assembly Democrats have come out with proposals for reforming election and corruption laws in the state. Senate Republicans have so far said little.

]]> (David Howard King) Elections Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:28:13 +0000
Headlines: Polling Site Mess; Nearly 1M Still Without Power Yesterday’s election saw long lines, jammed ballot scanners and shortages of affidavit ballots. Few voters used shuttle buses to get to substitute polling sites. Scanners were broken at polling sites in Gramercy Park and Park Slope. Two of three emergency sites in Coney Island opened over two hours late. Some poll workers at sites had no idea that people could vote using affidavit ballots, and the city printed up only 250 per election district. According to unofficial results, the state Senate is now tied, but thousands of absentee ballots still need to be counted in very close races. Even if the Democrats win a majority, a number of Democrats say they'll back Republican leadership. Meanwhile, embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez won re-election with 89 percent of the vote despite the scandal swirling around him.

In the Press...

]]> (Mike Muller) City Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:35:09 +0000
Headlines: Sandy's Impact on Voting Today moved 66 polling sites, many to supersites that consolidate multiple poll sites into one location. Shuttle buses running every 15 minutes will ferry voters to and from polling places in three areas hit particularly hard by the storm. The MTA is also providing voter shuttles. for people in the Rockaways, Staten Island and Coney Island whose polling places were damaged in the storm. Voters in the city can cast affidavit ballots at any polling site, but if they vote in a different district than where they're registered, the can't vote for legislative races other than the U.S. Senate. The GOP has accused the board of playing politics with relocating polling places in Queens, saying it will make it harder for Republican Eric Ulrich to get his supporters to the polls.

]]> (Mike Muller) City Tue, 06 Nov 2012 15:26:19 +0000
Tuesday is Election Day — Sandy Be Damned [Updated]

Editor's Note: This post has been updated with statements from the city's Board of Elections.

"Election day will be on Tuesday, that is not going to change," John Conklin, spokesman for the New York State Board of Election, said earlier today.

He said county boards across the state are currently assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to polling places and trying to determine what alternate arrangements need to be made to make sure everyone who wants to vote can.

"The local boards impacted by the storm are assessing damage to the polling places right now," Conklin said. "We have been in meetings with the governor's office and local boards to work on these assessments. We have to see if power still remains at the polling site, if they remain accessible to the public, the board and the machines. We also need to make sure the sites are safe. Once that is done, we will check on alternate polling sites and make sure they have tents, generators and whatever else they need."

Conklin said he hopes that all polling sites will have power, but he admitted, "Some might not." In that case, paper ballots will be made available for voters. The ballots will be put in a lock box and then scanned at county BOE headquarters.

There isn't a firm deadline on when the poll site evaluations need to be completed. "We didnt give a deadline," Conklin said. "I dont know how to put a deadline on a thing like this. We hope to have it done by the end of the day."

Obviously, with the damage done by Sandy, voting may not be on the top of everyone's to-do-list. Conklin said turnout for the primary election last year was depressed in the parts of the state that were effected by Hurricane Irene.

"I hope turnout is not siginificantly impacted," said Conklin, adding that "some people's homes also were burned down, some are under water and voting is not their biggest concern ... But we want to make sure that when they choose to vote that they have a place to do it."

City Board of Elections Commissioners Maria Guastella and Frederic Umane said in a statement on the agency's website that the BOE staff "has been working diligently to make sure that we are prepared for Election Day."

They said they have been assessing damage to poll sites caused by the storm. Meanwhile, poll workers are being trained and a temporary Manhattan office has been opened.

The BOE's usual Manhattan office is in lower Manhattan, where power is still being restored.

The commissioners also said that the "processing of absentee ballot applications has been delayed."

"But our staff are working diligently to process all absentee ballots that will be distributed by USPS overnight mail," they said. "Other NYC agencies have assigned some of their workers to assist in our efforts and we appreciate their assistance."

Sen. Joe Addabbo of Queens issued this statement in response to questions about how voting in his district might be affected.

“As of now my main priority and that of my campaign staff is to focus on assisting my district in the clean up and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as many areas of my district were hit incredibly hard by the storm," said Addabbo, who is in a battle to retain his seat from his main challenger, Councilman Eric Ulrich. "The safety and well-being of my constituents is the most important to me, and I will not focus my attention elsewhere until the recovery is well on its way.”


Aerial photo of Breezy Point, Queens provided by the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

]]> (David Howard King) Elections Wed, 31 Oct 2012 20:04:07 +0000
Civil Rights Group Calls for US DOJ to Monitor Election in Queens

A civil rights organization is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor the general election in Queens County after the city announced it would not provide Bengali-language ballots as required under federal law.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund announced today that it had submitted a letter to the DOJ requesting that monitors be deployed to oversee voting in six states, including New York.

AALDEF has been at the forefront of underscoring the failure of the city's Board of Election to adhere to federal law requiring language assistance for Asian voters in Queens.

The BOE says it has a plan to provide translators and some materials in Bengali for the general election on Nov. 6. But it blames technical problems with the voting machines for being unable to provide ballots translated into Bengali.

"Although the Board of Elections has offered to provide translated sample ballots, comparing a Bengali ballot to an English ballot is cumbersome for voters," AALDEF attorney Glenn D. Magpantay said in his letter to the DOJ. "The use of translated sample ballots is a new and completely untested procedure in New York City. Moreover, there is little assurance that such translated sample ballots will even be at poll sites for Bengali-speaking voters to access."

During monitoring of the primary election on Sept. 13, AALDEF reported various problems with the availability of interpreters and lack of information for Bengali speakers.

]]> (Administrator) City Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:31:29 +0000
Haven't Registered to Vote? Time is Running Out

The deadline to register to vote for next month's general election is tomorrow.

It's also the last day to declare a party affiliation to be eligible to vote in the 2013 primaries that will be crucial for the city as it picks a new mayor, City Council, comptroller, public advocate and more.

The city's Board of Elections website has basic information on how to register.

For those who have a state driver's license or identification card, one new way to go about registering is through the the state Department of Motor Vehicles website — though the process isn't immediately clear.

Perhaps sensing this, the Minkwon Center for Community Development, a civic organization with a mission of increasing participation in the election process by Korean Americans, has put together a handy step-by-step guide to using the DMV site.

It's worth checking out.

]]> (Administrator) City Thu, 11 Oct 2012 20:22:15 +0000