Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday, June 30, said the city’s Board of Elections needs a total overhaul following the error-prone agency’s latest blunder of adding more than 130,000 votes to the recent citywide early voting and Primary Election Day preliminary ballot count.
“Yet again, the fundamental structural flaws of the Board of Elections are on display. There must be an immediate, complete recanvass of the BOE’s vote count and a clear explanation of what went wrong. The record number of voters who turned out this election deserve nothing less,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio noted he once offered the BOE over $20 million to reform themselves, and now says nothing short of a complete structural rebuild of the board is needed.
“They refused, leaving legislative action as the next available recourse. After waiting hours in line myself to vote last fall, I presented a plan to remake the Board of Elections,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio suggested that the fix for the BOE’s woes lies in state legislation including the passage of S. 6226 / A. 5691, sponsored by Manhattan Senator Liz Krueger and Queens Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, to immediately professionalize the BOE in its current form and make them directly accountable to the city’s elected officials.
De Blasio also recommended amending the State Constitution to allow for a new, professional BOE, removed of party affiliation.
Meanwhile, Eric Adams’ campaign for mayor filed a lawsuit in Kings County Supreme Court seeking to ensure a fair and transparent election process.
“Today we petitioned the court to preserve our right to a fair election process and to have a judge oversee and review ballots, if necessary. We are notifying the other campaigns of our lawsuit through personal service, as required by law, because they are interested parties. We invite the other campaigns to join us and petition the court as we all seek a clear and trusted conclusion to this election,” said an Adams campaign spokesperson.
Additionally, Kings County Democratic Party Chair and Assemblymember Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn called for the establishment of an independent, non-partisan panel to see what changes are needed going forward, both in the BOE and in order to implement and prepare for ranked-choice voting.
“Voter disenfranchisement is not a new phenomenon. In 2020 we experienced a new wave of voting rights attacks that rang alarm bells. In New York City we must do all we can to ensure that no voter falls victim to this and that the integrity of our elections is always upheld,” said Bichotte Hermelyn.
“We need full participation in our democracy and that starts with assuring voters that their voice is heard and their vote is validated at the polls. That is why I am in the process of introducing state legislation reforms in Albany, as well as supporting a number of reforms introduced by my colleagues,” she added.
This story first appeared on our sister publication politicsny.com.