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Voting Mistakes, Not the NYC Election Commission’s First Failure –

New York (AP) — The name was accidentally removed from the electoral list. A long line at the polling place. Equipment failure. The voter’s name is incorrect in the absentee ballot. And now, the failure to count the mayor’s primary elections.

Problematic records of the New York City Election Commission have sparked protests from elected leaders for years. Despite years of agreement on the need for change, little has happened.

This week, the board added another disgraceful example of accidentally adding 135,000 test ballots to the mayor’s Democratic primary. This mistake prompted a new call to reform the board 100 years ago, the relics of Tammany Hall’s time, and optimism that this time it might be different.

“It’s an accident after the accident,” said state legislator Nily Rozic, D-Queens, who sponsors the law to implement new training, employment and transparency measures. “No other government agency has such a disastrous track record and may not be accountable at all.”

Critics point out that the complex structure of the board is responsible for many problems. The city council appoints its members based on the recommendations of the leaders of each of the city’s five provinces. Each autonomous region has two seats. One is the Democratic Party and the other is the Republican Party. Board staff are also evenly divided among the parties.

Critics say the apparent lack of oversight of partisan organizations and boards has led to this week’s sponsorship and recurring mistakes. Some of the rules governing an organization are set out in state law, while others are set out in the state constitution, making politically difficult changes.

“It happens many times, and we don’t seem to be doing anything about it,” said Jumani Williams, an elected public advocate of the city, on a record of the board’s problems.

In December, Democrat Williams called for the resignation of Secretary-General Michael Ryan of the board and the establishment of an independent independent board. The Williams office wrote that the board’s leadership is “filled with the recruitment of backers, not specialists who specialize in the unique skills needed to oversee elections.”

Prior to the 2016 election, the board accidentally expelled tens of thousands of voters from Brooklyn’s electoral list. Two years later, due to voting equipment issues, there were hours of queues in some districts. Last year, the board struggled to handle the pandemic-fueled surge in absentee ballot applications, initially sending many voter ballots with the wrong person’s name on the return envelope.

The error on Tuesday occurred when the board was conducting its first major exercise in voting for ranked options. In this system, voters rank up to five candidates in order of priority. After that, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated. The ballots thrown for the losers will be redistributed to the surviving candidates until there are two remaining, based on the method ranked by the voters.

The error included that a test vote image was incorrectly included in the primary vote analysis in the Democratic primary.

On Wednesday, the board announced a revised total — showing that Brooklyn Autonomous Region President Eric Adams was slightly ahead of former hygiene commissioner Kathling Garcia — and apologized for the mistake.

“We must regain the trust of New Yorkers,” the board said in a statement. “We continue to be responsible and apologize to New York City voters in the event of confusion.”

In the mayor’s race, nearly 125,000 absentee votes have not yet been counted, so the final result could be weeks ahead.

Rob Richie, president of a professional-ranked preferential voting organization called FairVote, said the Election Commission did not respond to offers of assistance from ranked elective voting resource centers that provide aggregation software for the commission to use. I did. According to Ritchie, the Resource Center helped set up a system to check for errors like Tuesday.

“That’s a newcomer’s mistake,” Ritchie said. “But you need to listen to people who know what they are doing.”

The board said the problem was a human error, not a ranked preferential voting system.

For government guard dogs and good government groups, mistakes were disappointing, if not so surprising.

Neil Rosenstein of the New York Public Interest Research Group said lawmakers need to do more than break the board.

“Attention and blame are focused on the board. This is appropriate, but it doesn’t go deep enough. It doesn’t go in: how do you intend to prevent this? How do you fix this? ” He said. For him, the agency is a “shield used by elected officials” to distract voters.

The board has long been a favorite target.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it “broken” and “an entity from another era” on Wednesday. For his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, many board accidents made him “worse than a gangster who couldn’t shoot straight.” Governor Andrew Cuomo summarized it last year as “a disadvantage to the public.”

Joanna Zdanis, a lawyer on the election reform team at NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, said the impact of this week’s mistakes is beyond the future of the authorities.

“The real danger associated with this is living in an era when the integrity of national elections is being questioned, so this is not just a New York City issue,” Zdanis said. “It affects this bigger story that undermines public confidence in general elections. Everyone is watching.”

Indeed, the news of the New York ballot mess lit up the far-right message board on Telegram and other platforms on Wednesday. There, users associated mistakes with the alleged allegations of widespread fraudulent voting in the 2020 elections.

Republican National Committee chairman Rona McDaniel said the negligence was “what happens when the Democrats hold elections,” despite the bipartisan board.

According to Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​and D-Yonkers, state legislators plan to hold a hearing about the mistake within a few weeks, calling it “national embarrassment.”

According to former Democratic senator Daniel Squadron, who represented parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York leaders are motivated to reform the board because of the current focus on national voting rights. There is a possibility. He currently leads a political action committee in support of race-focused democracy in the state legislature.

“This may be an opportunity,” he said. “It takes time to reform a system that has been broken by design for decades.”


The Associated Press writer, Karemma Shoes, contributed to this report. Klepper contributed from Providence, Rhode Island.

Voting Mistakes, Not the NYC Election Commission’s First Failure –

Source link Voting Mistakes, Not the NYC Election Commission’s First Failure –

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