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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.

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.

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Tagged in: elections voting

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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.

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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...

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The city’s Board of Elections 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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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