Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Board of Elections

Board of Elections

  • NYC voters voting boothVoters at the polls (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Voter data reporting laws must provide for voter privacy. Our elections are some of the most secure in all of the world, and at a time when voter confidence faces threats from false claims of fraud, it’s all the more important that voter data be held in a secure way. As cities and states seek to enhance confidence in their organizational competency and the validity of elections, statutes demanding access to auditable public election records are increasingly commonplace.

    Election data is a public good

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  • state senate hearing

    State Senate elections hearing (photo: @CitizensUnionNY)


    The State Senate analyzed the execution of the June primary elections in a major hearing Tuesday that included testimony from election administrators for New York City and State, as well as counties, and election reform experts. The lawmakers not only examined how elections were run, but the systems and structures that undergirded their performance -- and, as many said, enabled their failures. 

    Tuesday's event was unusual in that it served as the culmination of a series of public hearings held

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  • Senator Myrie Brooklyn Albany

    Senator Zellnor Myrie (photo: NY Senate)


    After a novel round of public hearings throughout the state, the New York State Senate elections committee is gearing up to hold its traditional post-election oversight hearing, where the New York City and State boards of elections will have to answer questions about what went right and what went wrong in the primaries earlier this year.

    On September 21, lawmakers will have their perennial conversation with representatives from the boards, as well as good government groups and other election experts, where

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  • senator zell myrie budget hearing

    State Senator Myrie (photo: NY Senate Media Services)


    The New York State Senate election committee may be breaking the mold of cyclical and predictable debate about voting administration and its discontents with a series of public hearings meant to broadly chronicle the experiences and ideas of voters across the state.

    The committee is holding four hearings "in every corner of the state" to give a platform to voters ahead of the traditional post-election oversight hearing where lawmakers interrogate election

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  • 2 initial turnout

    New York City voters voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Nearly 1 million New York City voters cast ballots in the mayoral primaries last month, according to unofficial results released by the New York City Board of Elections, marking the city's most participated-in local election in decades. While still low by historical standards, the turnout dwarfed the 2013 primaries -- the last mayoral race to have both Democratic and Republican primaries and no incumbent running -- by roughly 245,000 votes.

    Combined Democratic and

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  • voting village the

    Voters voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The latest local election debacle -- another botched effort by the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) -- is simply inexcusable. A structural overhaul to the BOE is necessary to create an accountable and transparent 21st century agency and restore voters’ faith in the city’s election system.

    Nearly every election for decades has been plagued with problems: untrained poll workers, delays in poll site openings, coordinators who don’t know how to close down the poll at night,

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  • boe mtg screenshot


    Six months after up to 100,000 Brooklyn voters received misprinted and disqualifying absentee ballots for the 2020 presidential election, the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) admitted it did not send its own staff to do quality inspections at absentee ballot vendor sites to ensure they would be able to meet the requirements of their contracts for the general election last year. It is unclear if the lack of oversight enabled the mistake but, according to the BOE, the vendor bore the costs of redistributing corrected ballots.

    The revelation comes as the embattled

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  • Seantor Liz Krueger, center (photo: New York State Senate)


    June 30, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Liz Krueger on Reforming the Board of Elections

    State Senator Liz Krueger has a bill to professionalize the New York City Board of Elections and joined the show in the wake of another BOE debacle to discuss its provisions and its chances of passage.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below

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  • voting nyc ballots pandemic

    Voters voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Board of Elections began tabulating preliminary, unofficial ranked-choice votes cast in this year’s primary elections on Tuesday, offering what was thought to be a glimpse of the possible result of races across the city even though more than 120,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted at all. But not long after the BOE published its first preliminary ranked-choice runoff in the Democratic primaries for mayor and comptroller, it became evident that errors had been made and the

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  • early voting pres

    Voters at work (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The combination of early voting, vote-by-mail, and the desire to vote out Donald Trump made 2020 a huge year for voting in New York City. Despite long lines, when voters are given the right resources and awareness, we can raise the level of participation.  

    As we turn towards 2021, the next chapter for voting in New York City will be the implementation of ranked-choice voting (RCV) for special and party primary elections for city government positions. If properly implemented, it will

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  • poll workers boenyc crop

    Poll workers (photo: NYC Board of Elections)


    Expecting high overall voter turnout and in preparation for the first early voting period in New York for a presidential election -- which itself just saw over 1.1 million voters cast ballots -- the New York City Board of Elections scrambled to train thousands of poll workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated everything this year, including election administration and voting, with absentee b...

  • 2 after doing adv 1

    Mayor de Blasio after voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In April 2016, just after party primary elections featuring a major error by the New York City Board of Elections, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would push for legislation in Albany to professionalize the day-to-day operations of the Board, among other bills that could improve the city's perennially bungled election administration and create more access to the ballot box for New Yorkers. Over four years and several poorly-run elections later, de Blasio made a similar announcement

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  • 8piecesofleg

    Make sure to sign your ballot (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Among a package of changes to New York state election law passed since the chaotic June primaries is a provision that requires the Board of Elections to notify voters when their absentee ballots are on the verge of being thrown out and give them a chance to correct certain potential disqualifications. Designed to ensure possibly tens of thousands of intended votes are actually counted, the “curing” mandate applies to a handful of often disenfranchising technicalities, but the newborn steps may add a

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  • press conf barclays

    Council Member Laurie Cumbo at an election promotion event (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    An October 5 staffing report from the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) to state regulators shows a scramble to prepare for the general election less than a month before Election Day.

    The BOE was over a month late to submit the plan, which was required by Governor Andrew Cuomo through executive order to ensure local election administrators had the necessary

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  • register people day

    City workers looking to register people to vote (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The 2020 general election is well underway, and the deadline to register to vote in it in New York is this Friday, October 9.

    New Yorkers can check their registration status by using this online tool or, if they live in the city, calling the city Board of Elections at 1-866-868-3692.

    To register, or to update a registration with a new address, New Yorkers can print out ...

  • Gotham Gazette:

     NYC BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The New York City Board of Elections has not submitted a state-mandated report on its staffing needs for this fall, blowing past a September 20 deadline set by Governor Andrew Cuomo and raising concerns about the city's preparedness for the consequential general election. It is the only jurisdiction in the state to miss the deadline, according to officials at the State Board of Elections, to which the reports are due.

    The mandate and deadline, set in a late-August executive

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  • 3 early voting influx

    Early voting at a poll site can be a breeze (photo: @BOENYC)


    As election administrators across the state prepare themselves for a second, larger wave of mass absentee voting this fall, officials and voting advocates are encouraging as many voters as possible to take advantage of the state's in-person early voting option as an alternative to crowded Election Day poll sites and the uncertainty of casting a ballot by mail.

    Early voting, first launched statewide in 2019, will be offered this fall from October 24 through November 1 and gives all

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  • presidential state city

    New Yorkers soon head to the polls (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    The 2020 general election results in New York City may not be known until mid-December, six weeks after Election Day, according to Michael Ryan, the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections.

    Ryan told members of the New York City Council Friday that New Yorkers could expect election results between December 8 and 15, around the same length of time it took in the primaries but ages beyond the unofficial results New Yorkers have come to expect on election

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  • kings abs oath envelope pg2b

    Part of the new absentee ballot envelope design


    The New York State Board of Elections has approved a new design for absentee ballot envelopes to be used statewide in the upcoming general election. The new layout, mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in an executive order, is intended to make it more obvious where a voter needs to provide a signature in order to have the ballot accepted by elections administrators under state law and avoid mass disqualification of absentee ballots as New York saw during the June primaries.

    The

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    Ranked-choice voting will be implemented for the first time next year (Michael Appleton/Mayor's office)


    The New York State Board of Elections is continuing the process of certifying new voting machines sought by New York City elections administrators to improve the city's early voting system. But, while those machines could help the city take a step toward county-wide early voting centers – which many early voting supporters are pushing for – voting reform advocates say they may not be viable for ranked-choice voting, which will be implemented for the first

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's office)


    The New York City Board of Elections last week delivered a City Charter-mandated report to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council on how it will implement a new voting method, known as ranked-choice voting (RCV), in the 2021 municipal elections, when all of city government will be on the ballot.

    The report, which was submitted June 30 and obtained by Gotham Gazette, shows few procedural and operational changes to casting and counting ballots, possibly indicating a light lift for elections administrators ahead of the

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  • 3 how election official

    "Every Vote Counts" (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography)


    While New Yorkers have come to expect challenges in the voting process, they’ve also come to expect "unofficial election night results" rolling in in the hours after polls close -- a tradition that sometimes entails staying up late to find out the winner of a close race, or waking up the next day to a new leader-elect who had been only a hopeful when voters went to the polls.

    But with the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots for the June primary this year, some races took

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  • Myrie Senate

    State Senator Myrie in the Senate chamber (photo: State Senate)


    After June saw drastic shifts in how voting in New York is conducted, elections administrators, state legislators, and watchdogs have a long list of changes they want to see enacted before the general election this fall. But above all they want clarity from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    Many of the key players in New York City and State elections testified Tuesday at an oversight hearing held by both houses of the Democrat-controlled Legislature examining the June primary, its successes and

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  • passed prop what

    Inspecting voting equipment (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)


    The June 2020 primaries in New York were an unusually thick morass of bureaucratic challenges as the city and state election systems shifted to a mostly-mail-in format amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

    In New York City more than 80,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified on technical grounds -- a full fifth of the 400,000-plus ballots cast that way and a tenth of the total. Tens of thousands of ballots were either sent out late by the New York City Board of Elections or never delivered to voters who

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  • rosenthal absentee ballot mailbox

    Voting absentee (photo: @HelenRosenthal)


    A law passed by the New York City Council in 2016 could have helped prevent some of the many problems plaguing the absentee ballot process from the June 2020 primary elections. But that law was never implemented by the New York City Board of Elections, a quasi-state agency that routinely refuses to abide by local mandates.

    The June primaries saw a record number of absentee ballots cast by voters, facilitated by an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo that mandated that local boards of

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