Bill de Blasio offers Board of Elections $20 million for reforms

Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered millions to go toward voting reform.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered millions to go toward voting reform. Photo Credit: iStock

Less than a month after NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a damning “Barriers to the Ballot” report about obstacles encountered by voters in NYC – and following a disastrous April 19 primary in which 126,000 voters were apparently purged from the rolls – Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he will give the Board of Elections $20 million to enact needed reforms.

About $1.5 million would go to retaining an outside consultant, appointing a blue ribbon panel of management and election experts, posting jobs publicly and making hiring transparent, and complying with all feasible recommendations in the Comptroller’s audit.

Another $8.1 million would go to implementing text and email notifications for voters, resending voter registration information, absentee ballot tracking, reviewing and confirming voter registrations, an independent review of poll worker training and testing by an outside consultant, a professional records manager and records officer, a logistics team to address Election Day problems and poll site relocation signage.

And $10 million is earmarked to increase the training and salaries of poll workers as well as to provide bonuses when they must attend multiple election events in one year.

Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner applauded the de Blasio’s offer, saying in a statement that “The Board of Elections is a patronage driven entity, funded by public dollars, that willfully flouts its responsibility to tax payers.”

In order to receive the incentive funding, the BOE must formally agree by June 1 to implement the reforms. The BOE did not have a comment at press time.