- Last Updated: 11:02 PM, July 15, 2012
- Posted: July 16, 2012
Who says the city’s Board of Elections is unprepared? Heck, more than a year out, it’s already planning to screw up the 2013 mayoral voting.
It’s even publicizing its incompetence in advance: In a letter to Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders, board members recently claimed they might not be able to conduct a possible runoff election in the required timeframe after the 2013 primary.
The problem? Get this: They’re blaming new electronic voting machines for potential delays. (Leave it to the city’s BOE to claim that high tech makes its job harder.)
Please. The question now is: How much of this will New Yorkers tolerate?
How much will Cuomo and lawmakers force New Yorkers to tolerate?
After all, the city doesn’t have to wait until next year to have its voting mangled; it’s already happened: Just last month, BOE practices led to a premature declaration that Rep. Charlie Rangel had won the primary against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.
Given the board’s antiquated method of tabulating votes, it seems 79 precincts (of 506) initially registered “zeroes” in that election — meaning votes in those areas weren’t counted.
Rangel was deemed the winner, though his winning margin was razor-thin. And not until weeks later did a fuller count show Rangel, indeed, to have prevailed.
Espaillat also alleged possible voter suppression and fraud in the race; some reports raised the specter of inappropriate contact between BOE staffers and the Rangel campaign before the primary.
Then there was BOE’s November 2010 fiasco, when thousands of ballots were misplaced and not counted until later.
The ensuing uproar led one commissioner to whine that “we got it really bad” from the media and to fear more bad press was on its way.
Forgive us, but what else would anyone expect if BOE continues to botch a fundamental democratic institution like voting?
And that’s just what BOE’s letter — warning that it won’t be able to get votes counted in time for a runoff two weeks after the Sept. 10, 2013, primary — suggests will happen. Remember, the board hasn’t even been able to name an executive director for over 18 months.
City Council Speaker Chris Quinn plans a hearing on the Rangel-Espaillat primary flap and other election issues.
But it’s up to Albany to fix this mess.
Cuomo should take the lead — starting, perhaps, by forming one of his patented task forces to take a comprehensive, statewide look at all New York election-related issues: vote-tallying, patronage, ballot access, voter fraud, etc.
True, he’s already formed umpteen task forces (some, seemingly, to avoid taking necessary action).
But this is one area that needs careful analysis, not least because the state constitution requires a certain level of bipartisanship on election matters.
New Yorkers need to feel elections here are fair and handled competently — that their votes will count.
That’s certainly not the case now.Follow @NYPostOpinion