Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Board of Elections

Board of Elections

  • primary voting chi bdb

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Though a new system for holding many city elections was overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall, new details about how ranked-choice voting will actually work continue to emerge.

    Ranked-choice voting, which will apply to only special and primary elections for New York City government positions, allows voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If no candidate hits a majority of votes, a system of vote redistribution based on second and possibly subsequent choices is

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  • bill online voter

    State Senator Myrie, middle, is pushing his online voter registration bill (photo: @SenatorMyrie)


    Last year, the New York City Board of Elections hobbled a City Council effort to create an online voter registration portal for city residents, claiming it conflicted with state law. But the state Legislature may take steps to correct that situation this year by clarifying the law and allowing an online portal that would act as a test case for a statewide system slated to launch next year.

    The New York City Council passed ...

  • eric adams wcbs

    Eric Adams, Susan Lerner, and Alicka Ampry-Samuel, right (photo: @AlickaASamuel41)


    A push is now underway to ensure voters are educated about the new ranked choice voting system New York City will be adopting for some elections starting in 2021, and it is being driven by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a top contender in the mayoral race where the new format will first be tested.

    At a press conference Wednesday in front of New York City Board of Elections headquarters in Lower Manhattan, Adams, along with Brooklyn City Council Member Alicka

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  • 1 flushing meadow

    Queens BP special election is March 24 (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In low-turnout and low-information elections, like the typical special election in New York City, the prominence of a candidate’s name on the ballot can go a long way -- and that depends largely on the order in which the candidates are listed. Traditionally the subject of gaming by campaigns, for the March special election to name a new Queens Borough President, the order was determined by an unprecedented method: random draw.

    “Three candidates filed simultaneously so the order of

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  • cm eric ulrich epc

    Council Member Eric Ulrich (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    With 2019 voting in the books and a major election year on the horizon, a behind-the-scenes effort is underway to replace the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, a quasi-city agency with a reputation for mismanagement and political patronage. City Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Queens Republican, is expressing interest in the position and says he may soon have the support necessary to be appointed by the board’s commissioners.  

    The BOE is essentially a

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  • senator mich giana

    (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)


    At post-election oversight hearings in New York, where voting is perennially plagued by episodes of malfunction and inefficiency, it is not common to hear politicians praise election administrators. But praise for both the city and state boards of elections was one of the overriding themes of a Wednesday hearing held by state legislators, convened to examine the inaugural implementation of early voting in New York State.

    As officials commended both bodies’ efforts to adjust to a slew of new voting reforms in a short 10-month

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    (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    After about 60,000 New York City voters took advantage of the first early voting period in city history, albeit during an especially quiet electoral year, more than 650,000 others went to the polls on Election Day 2019, providing mostly expected results and approving multiple controversial ballot proposals to change city elections and governance. This year provided a helpful initial test run for early voting and all that goes with it, such as electronic poll books and a lot of poll-worker training, before what is expected

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  • jack hts bus

    (photo: @Charter2019NYC)


    Just seven people trickled in from the rain to attend the information session in the Lower Gallery of the Bronx Museum of the Arts last Wednesday night. Despite the low turnout, the small group has the potential to reach dozens or even hundreds more people because most of those who attended represented organizations. They had come to the museum that night to gather information to bring back to their members about the proposals that will be on this year’s ballot, whereby voters will approve or disapprove 19 changes to New York City governance and

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  • voting gen election may office

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Major changes are coming to the way New Yorkers cast ballots as the New York City Board of Elections prepares to roll out early voting for the first time later this month. In a sort of test-run during a very quiet election year, the Board will be opening up the polls for nine days leading up to Election Day and is taking the opportunity to pilot new technology that can make voting easier and more accessible.

    Throughout 2019 New York City elections administrators have had the immense

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  • poll pad e poll book

    (photo: knowink)


    With just one month before New York rolls out early voting for the first time, it is unclear exactly where the city’s Board of Elections stands on acquiring and readying new technology considered essential to the new voting system.

    BOE commissioners and staff have been discussing the acquisition of electronic poll books at board meetings since January, when the State Legislature passed and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law establishing early voting and authorizing counties to purchase the new tech, which enables implementation of early

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  • mayor bdb public

    (photo: Edward Reed/Mayor's office)


    While city officials and elections administrators clash over what changes the Board of Elections should make to improve operations and the voting experience, one widely-supported option the city could pursue sits on the back-burner.

    A municipal poll workers program would allow the Board of Elections to hire Election Day poll workers from a pool of city employees, significantly reducing the hiring and training burdens for administrators and helping to ensure poll sites are more effectively

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  • mayor bdb voting

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one: New York's Election Administration Accountability Vacuum: ‘Bad Choices at Every Step'

    New York City’s Board of Elections, the maligned ten-member commission responsible for overseeing the administration of voting in the five boroughs, has been the subject of criticism for decades owing to inefficiency and

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  • joint comm hearing regarding issues

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


    After each election cycle, New York elected officials, government insiders, and interested members of the press and public gather at City Hall and in other hearing rooms for a bit of political theater. The protagonist is the electorate, or the democratic process, itself; the one cast as villain is Michael Ryan, the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, who is there to respond to questions about how voting went that year.

    “Mr. Ryan,

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  • mayor commissioner exec

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photography Office)


    In January, the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a governmental watchdog agency, revealed that it had held a closed-door vote on a potential ethics investigation into a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The aide, Joe Percoco, was convicted on federal corruption charges in a highly publicized trial that also laid bare work he had done from his executive chamber office while on leave to work

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  • de Blasio early voting new york city

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Early voting has finally come to our state, but it won’t work in our city unless the City Board of Elections ensures there are enough voting sites. That needs to happen, and it needs to happen now for our 3 million immigrants, our communities of color and every New Yorker who has a hard time voting on Election Day.

    Later today, the BOE is due to announce how many early voting poll sites New York City will have for the November election – the first time New Yorkers will have the right to vote

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  • voting gen elect

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York City Board of Elections, a state entity funded by the city, has a less-than-stellar reputation for running elections and has long been resistant to going beyond the letter of state law in improving voter access and participation. And this year, the city BOE must contend with a new state mandate to create an early voting program for potentially millions of voters, as well as a push by the city to provide broader poll site interpretation services in immigrant communities.

    At a Tuesday

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  • boe mahcines gg

    (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    In the coming days, the Board of Elections will select a vendor to provide voting machines to serve nearly 5 million New York City voters as part of the early voting launch this year. Unfortunately, the entire process has become tainted by corruption and ought to raise deep concerns to anyone who cares about the integrity of our elections.

    Over the past decade, New York City has paid $43 million to Elections Systems & Software (ES&S) for its poor quality ballot scanners and other voting machines. This is the same company

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  • city council sp co jo

    Speaker Johnson (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    The New York City Council’s Democratic conference held on Thursday what officials said was its first ever public vote to appoint three new commissioners to the New York City Board of Elections.

    The BOE is a quasi-city agency, funded in the city budget but governed by state law. It has ten commissioners -- two from every borough, with one each recommended by the Democratic and Republican parties and appointed by the City Council for four-year terms. The board’s executive director is chosen by the

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  • citycouncil jcommhearing

    BOE ED Michael Ryan (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Embattled City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan testified before the City Council's Committees on Oversight and Government Operations on Tuesday, explaining that a perforated two-page ballot, never before used anywhere in the United States, was primarily to blame for the issues at polling sites across the city on Election Day.

    In a combative hearing initially presided over by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Ryan apologized, after being asked to do so, for the

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  • voting booths

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Come January, Democrats will control both houses of the New York state Legislature and the governor’s office, and they have declared that after years of being stymied by state Senate Republicans, voting reform will be at the top of the 2019 agenda. But even before that new governing reality comes to fruition, Assembly Democrats, already in the majority by a wide margin, examined both voting administration and the broader laws at play during a hearing on Thursday in Manhattan.

    Though with looming new political

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  • and cuomo nov2

    Gov. Cuomo votes (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Election Day in New York City was, as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote on Twitter, “like Groundhog Day,” where yet again, voters were forced to wait in long lines as ballot scanners across the city broke down, a sign of the abysmal election administration that New Yorkers have come to expect every time they visit the polls.

    The past few elections -- city, state, and federal --

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    New Yorkers line up to vote (photo: Edwin Torres/Mayor's office)


    Close to 160,000 New Yorkers registered with the Democratic Party in the last seven months, according to the latest enrollment numbers released by the State Board of Elections on Thursday, compared with just over 22,000 voters who joined the Republican Party and close to 113,000 who registered but did not pick a party affiliation. In total, there were 12.7 million registered voters across the state,

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  • shakinghands

    Sen. Jeff Klein meets voters (Photo: jeffkleinny.com)


    Already spending at what is likely a record pace, with two weeks until the September 13 primary, New York State Senator Jeff Klein kept spending his campaign cash at a rapid clip to try to beat back a Democratic primary challenge from Alessandra Biaggi, a lawyer and first-time candidate, Klein’s late post-primary campaign finance filing shows. In sum, Klein spent nearly ten times more than Biaggi, but was still unsuccessful as Biaggi claimed the nomination, likely unseating one of the state’s major powerbrokers of the past

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  • gov and cuomo coughlin votes

    (Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    The State Board of Elections voted on Wednesday to hobble the subpoena powers of Chief Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman, dealing a significant blow to one of the state’s only election law watchdogs.

    The new rules, which were voted on by the board at a commissioners’ meeting in Albany, would require Sugarman to obtain permission from the board members (two Democrats, two Republicans) for each subpoena she plans to issue in a probe, and for the “circumstances of the investigation”

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  • govcuomo votes mount kisco primary

    Gov. Cuomo voting (photo via the Governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday new measures to enhance the security of the state’s elections. They include “comprehensive risk assessments, intrusion detection devices, and managed security services for all county boards of elections,” as well as training for election staff on cyber security.

    The initiatives make use of $5 million allocated in the 2019 state budget for enhanced cybersecurity related to elections, which included the creation of an

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