Brooklyn

Board of Elections understaffed at large-volume early voting sites

The embattled metropolis Board of Elections mismanaged key aspects of its early voting program, The Post has realized, together with allocating poll scanners with little regard for demand and stuffing so many citizens into balloting sites that it overwhelmed its system.

The examination of the BOE’s preparations comes as 1000’s of New York City voters once more confronted hours-long strains Wednesday to cast their votes within the hotly contested 2020 basic election, giving the patronage-ladened company its newest black eye.

Take two places in Brooklyn: The BOE solely despatched 5 poll scanners to the New York City College of Technology on Jay Street, regardless that it assigned greater than 60,000 voters to the location for early voting. And Barclay’s Center was allotted the identical quantity of scanners, regardless of being the early voting spot for an additional 32,000.

That sample repeats in Manhattan. The Board of Elections offered solely 5 scanners to the early voting polling website at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in SoHo, regardless of assigning it almost 81,000 voters — roughly one scanner per 16,000 voters.

Just a seven-minute stroll away, BOE additionally arrange its smallest early voting polling website within the metropolis at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts close to Washington Square Park. However, officers arrange three scanners for the 8,300 voters who can use the location — roughly one scanner for each 2,800 voters.

The Post despatched reporters to fifteen early voting sites within the two boroughs and located the scanners have been erratically distributed and that even busiest sites had not more than seven such units.

“It makes no sense, it shows you how poor their planning is and how unprepared they were for people to use early voting,” stated John Kaehny, the manager director of the good-government group Reinvent Albany. “I think the BOE has completely misallocated resources and failed to the simple math to figure out how many poll books and scanners it needs based on the number of likely voters.”

That’s simply the tip of the Board of Elections’ issues in the case of early voting, one high state election official advised The Post.

The BOE’s $24 million digital ballot e book system relies on a wi-fi community system that may solely handle as much as eight pill computer systems and poll printers at every polling website — an element officers didn’t appear to have in mind as they assigned 100,000 voters to particular person polling places.

“The check-in is where the choke point is. You can only process so many voters,” stated Doug Kellner, the co-chairman of the state Board of Elections, which offers restricted oversight of its troubled metropolis affiliate.

Adding to the backup, Kellner stated, it takes metropolis ballot employees roughly two minutes to examine in every voter — wanting up their identify, having the voter signal, evaluating the signature to that on file after which printing out a poll keyed to their distinctive credentials —  whereas native election officers stated they have been planning on getting it finished in 30 seconds.

Kellner’s remarks and the Post’s examination got here simply hours after the town’s impartial Campaign Finance Board obtained and printed statistics that confirmed the town BOE assigned greater than 100,000 voters to some early voting places and fewer than 20,000 voters to others.

Under New York state’s structure, the Board of Elections is run by a 10-person board chosen by the Democratic and Republican events in every of the 5 boroughs.

The Mayor and City Council have little leverage to demand change on the largely patronage appointments and consequent operations.

Defenders say the setup, which dates again to the period of Tammany Hall, offers a pure examine and stability to stop one celebration from abusing the elections system.

The BOE’s legions of critics say placing the events in cost has turned the BOE right into a patronage-laden company that’s higher at offering jobs to the family and friends of elected officers than operating elections — resulting in scandal after scandal.

Just this election cycle:

A spokeswoman for the Board of Elections didn’t return a request from remark.

Source

Back to top button