NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There have been more reverberations from the Board of Elections‘ stunning vote counting mistake, moves to finally reform it and end the patronage.
BOE workers continued to count absentee ballots on Thursday, more than 125,000 from Democrats and 5,900 from Republicans, as stunned critics pondered what to do about the historically inept agency’s latest misstep — somehow adding 135,000 test ballots into the mix when tabulating the first round of ranked choice voting results.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called the city BOE’s fiasco a national embarrassment and she’s seeking reforms.
The Senate leader said the upper house will hold public hearings to undo the years of patronage and nepotism that have beset the agency. Sen. Liz Krueger is on the front lines of that move, with a bill to professionalize the agency. Here’s the ugly truth about why change is needed:
“It’s 10 non-elected commissioners who seem to have all the say over who’s hired, what policies are set, who does what. There’s no accountability, they can’t be fired, and it’s this giant Democrat and Republican patronage mill,” Krueger told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
Instead of having the board controlled by county political leaders, the legislation would:
- Require commissioners to have relevant qualifications
- Create co-executive directors who can be held accountable for mistakes
- Require specialized training courses to insure employees have the skills needed to administer elections
“It’s not that hard to fix. We run a city government with city agencies with somebody at the top whose accountable, and who gets hired and fired based on whether they can do their job,” Krueger said.
— NYC Board of Elections (@BOENYC) June 30, 2021
Meanwhile, the Democratic mayoral candidates are coming to terms with the update tabulation.
Without the tainted ballots, Eric Adams had 51.1%, followed by Kathryn Garcia with 48.9%, after nine elimination rounds. However, it’s still a horse race because in the eighth round Maya Wiley and Garcia were neck and neck — Wiley at 29.5% and Garcia at 29.6% — just 347 votes apart.
“The truth is we now stand with a wide-open race,” Wiley said.
Wiley hugged it out with supporters after joining the chorus of those seeking changes at the BOE.
The BOE will report the next round of results on Tuesday, with final results coming a week later.