Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

voting

voting

  • voters on line Queens early

    Voters on line for early voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Blockchain – many know it is a technology of the moment, but few understand how it works. It’s just one of those things that sounds important, but so many eyes glaze over when the phrase is used. But more and more, the use of blockchain technology is becoming commonplace, and it’s time we consider using it to make sure elections are as secure as possible.

    First, the basics.

    Blockchain is known as a “decentralized ledger” -- meaning that whenever a change is made

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  • 4 polling sites

    Voting in NYC in a pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The first presidential election in New York City to have both early and universal mail-in voting showed a significant portion of the electorate taking advantage of each of the new voting methods.

    Across the city, roughly 42% of those who voted cast ballots in-person on Election Day, while 37% voted at an early voting site, and 22% mailed in ballots, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board. At ...

  • 3 crowd part bayside

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


    We are in a critical moment. We’ve been seeing how the national political arena has impacted everyday life at a hyper-local level. But amid an ongoing dialogue on polling, voter engagement, and how the presidential election will shape our nation we continue to miss the mark on how elections affect municipalities. The broad strokes of national politics continue to

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  • waits line hundred

    A long early voting line (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New York City's first early voting period in a presidential general election saw 1.1 million in-person votes cast, hours of waiting across the city, and the threat of a court challenge to expand voting options. Experts and administrators didn't know exactly what to expect because of the unprecedented confluence of the coronavirus pandemic, universal absentee voting, and Trump-era political zeal.

    The results point to a number of potential changes that could improve the option in the

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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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  • cu co justinb

    Council Member Justin Brannan, the author, with constituents and allies


    As the City Council Member representing the 43rd District in Brooklyn, I represent the largest Arab community in the City of New York. This community has weaved itself into the complex fabric of my district, especially in Bay Ridge, where our avenues are lined with Arab-owned businesses, and several non-profit organizations that have been serving Arab-Americans and Arab immigrants for decades. I am proud to serve this community, and proud that its members are a part of what makes our district so

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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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  • grossman pod 600px

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    October 7, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Ensuring Voting Access by Monitoring Poll Sites, with Perry Grossman of NYCLU

    Perry Grossman of the NYCLU joined the show to discuss his organization's efforts to protect the right to vote.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand @JarrettMurphy. You can listen to the

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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 ...

  • Myrie Gianaris State Senate voting

    State Senators & election officials (photo: Senator Gianaris' office)


    After the June primaries, when tens of thousands of absentee ballots were rejected on technical grounds or never cast because they were mailed to voters late or not at all, state lawmakers passed a series of measures aimed at correcting some of those mishaps. But several other bills introduced by legislators and pushed by voting rights advocates that could prevent thousands of ballots from being thrown out are still on the table as the clock ticks toward 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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  • hall town 35th

    School Board elections may soon change across NY (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    On May 25 in White Plains, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that the at-large system used for electing the nine members of the East Ramapo School Board denied the district’s Black and Latino voters effective choice in its elections, violating §2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Under an at-large system every voter votes to fill each board position, allowing a disciplined majority to control all seats. A majority of the East Ramapo district’s voting population is

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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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  • in person voting pandemic

    In-person voting during a pandemic (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    We should never have to decide between public health and democracy. We must have both.

    We hoped that voter suppression was a thing of the past, and yet it is still present not just in the South but in the South Bronx and across the country.

    We are witnessing a public health and democratic crisis that must be addressed immediately—otherwise, lives will be taken as electoral gains are also stolen.  

    In short, the coronavirus crisis has cast a light on the deteriorating health of

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  • boe nyc votes table pandemic

    Voting during a pandemic (photo: @NYCVotes)


    Ahead of a special state legislative session set for next week, a coalition of election reform advocates is backing ten bills that would change or codify elements of the now widely-used absentee voting process before the fall general election.

    The agenda, released Thursday by the Let NY Vote coalition, comes amid party primary elections where the voting is over but the counting

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  • 3 mount kisco gov

    Voting has changed dramatically in New York (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    As hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots are being counted more than two weeks after the June 23 primary elections, state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would allow absentee voters to track their ballots and would require election administrators to provide an individual explanation when a ballot is disqualified.

    The latest effort to pass the legislation, which was first introduced in 2013, comes amid an unprecedented increase in absentee voting due to

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  • voting in the new york of coronavirus

    Voting was again challenging in New York City (photo: Edwin J Torres/Mayor's Office)


    When Imani Clenance didn’t receive her absentee ballot to vote in the recent June primaries she, like many others, went to vote in person. But at her polling site in Harlem, she realized that her struggle to vote had only just started.

    After being given her ballot, she only received one page with Democratic presidential primary candidates on it, but no mention of the Congressional race in her district, District 13, that she knew from the Board of

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  • biaggi voters

    Alessandra Biaggi on the 2018 campaign trail (photo: @Biaggi4NY)


    This story, and the series it is a part of, has been supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.

    **********

    On the night of September 13, 2018, a wave crashed through New York state politics.

    For years, pressure had been mounting on the members of the Independent

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  • early voting rally

    Register to vote by Friday May 29 (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York’s primary election is less than a month away on, June 23, preceded by early voting June 13-21, and with all eligible voters allowed to vote absentee due to the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline for new voters to register is this Friday, May 29 [Find more info here].

    There are state legislative,

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  • voting in new york during coronavirus

    What voters need to know to vote in June (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The images of Wisconsin voters standing in line last month starkly illustrated how COVID-19 has triggered a health emergency for our democracy. Here in New York, elections have been postponed or canceled in response to the pandemic. We are taking the first steps towards voting in a new way, via mail-in absentee ballots. With all of these rapid changes, it is no wonder voters are confused about what steps they can take to cast a vote safely and help maintain the

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  • voting gen elect

    Voters will have greater access to interpreters at the polls this fall (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The still-new New York City Civic Engagement Commission is set to launch a poll-site language assistance program for the fall general election, expanding on the limited interpretation services that are currently provided by the Board of Elections. 

    As required by the Voting Rights Act, the Board of Elections only provides interpreters to assist at poll sites in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Bengali. But New York City residents speak more

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