Election Reforms and Reforming Elections
December 6th, 2010

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a set of election law proposals he will push in Albany next year, Council Speaker Christine Quinn grilled the city Board of Elections on its performance in November’s election.

While the Board of Elections improved over its handling of primary day — when scores of polling places opened hours late, complaints of a lack of privacy flourished and the overall management was called a “royal screw-up” — Quinn said it still had a way to go.

“There was no royal screw up of significance on Nov. 2,” Quinn said. The speaker has called for the board to give itself grades per polling site, post a sample ballot online and conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director. George Gonzalez, the former executive director, was fired a week before Election Day this year in connection with the board’s performance on primary day.

The board has promised to post sample ballots online before an election, but it has warned officials it would come with a price tag.

When asked today about its executive director search, a board official said it has received one resume and one inquiry about the position. It gave no commitment to conduct a national search.

“There is no formal process,” said Steven Richman, the board’s general counsel. “But the board is open to receiving resumes.”

The speaker took issue with the more than 195,000 difference in votes counted on election night and when the certified results came out last week. Asked if this jump — which the board says is a 14.2 percent difference and press says is 17 percent — was unusual, the board said it did not keep unofficial election tallies from previous elections.

“It was the end of a long day,” said Richman. “Maybe there was some arithmetic errors?”

Board of Election officials said they would get the council the historic data, but they also argued unofficial tallies the night of the election and certified results are always different.

If the announcement from the Bloomberg adminsitration this afternoon is any indication, the spotlight on the Board of Elections will not go out anytime soon.

In the next legislative session, the administration plans to push for several voting proposals, including early voting, allowing voters to fill out their ballots at home and extending the registration deadline from 25 days before to 10 days.

By on December 6, 2010, 6:05 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Election Reforms and Reforming Elections”

  1. Beau Tyson Says:
    December 7th, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Although the out of context quote – Maybe there was some arithmetic errors? helps the article incite more anger (attention) you could have also blogged that the vote reports were all completed by the poll workers. It was another city department that did not, for various reasons, enter vote totals for numerous districts into the AP reporting system.

  2. Judith Berdy Says:
    December 7th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    As a poll worker who started at 5 a.m. and ended my day at 11 p.m. it is easy to see
    why there is a discrepency in the tally sheets and ballots.

    The poll workers have to manually transcribe
    every vote, from every party onto a tally sheet. This has to be done 3 times. There are no adding machines or calculators.

    Figure what someone working over 14 hours
    could do the math, transcription and then copy the results 3 times.

    It is a given that something will get screwed up with this old fashioned way
    of tabulating ballots.

    Pity the folk who have to manually go thru every ballot box to see who the write in
    votes were for!!

    The new system is a mess.

    A frustrate poll worker.

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