NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the New York State Board of Elections on Wednesday, saying the state voting system ‘broken,’ while calling for increased voter reform efforts across the state.
“I don’t think anything that happened in the presidential primary in this city was about the system being rigged — I think the system is broken.”‘
De Blasio made the comment after being asked at a press conference Wednesday to respond to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent claims that the 2016 election is being “rigged” in favor of the Democratic party.
“There’s no evidence of any meaningful voter fraud in America at this point,” de Blasio said. “That’s just a fact.”
Comptroller Scott Stringer called for an audit of the Board of Elections after wide-scale issues were reported during the April state primaries.
The office for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it received 562 phone calls and 140 emails with complaints between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. on the day of the primary — the largest volume of complaints they have received for a general election since taking office in 2011. The office said they only received 150 complaints in the 2012 general election.
The most common complaint was voters being told they weren’t registered, followed by being told they were not registered with a political party, and the denial of affidavit ballots when requested.
Other complaints included lack of privacy, accessibility issues, unclear instruction, and the availability of only blue pens when ballots state they must be marked in black.
De Blasio has vowed to lead an effort to make it easier to vote in New York, urging the state to implement same-day voter registration, early voting, and no-excuse absentee voting.
“I wish the State of New York would make the kinds of reforms we need,” de Blasio said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“I think the current executive director is a capable person who wants to update the agency. I’ve offered him $20 million to do it,” de Blasio said. “His board won’t agree to it, because it comes with a guarantee of reforms.”
De Blasio has said current state laws “discourage participation in the democratic process,” and that nearly 2 million New Yorkers remain unregistered to vote — many of whom live in the metropolitan area.
“We like to think of ourselves as very sophisticated and advanced compared to may other parts of our nation, guess what? In this area we just aren’t,” de Blasio said in an earlier interview.
According to the mayor, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have same-day voter registration.