In advance of today’s Board of Elections meeting, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio joined the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee, civic leaders and election lawyers to urge the Board to abandon its elaborate, error-prone process of tallying votes on election night by hand. In a letter sent today, the leaders called on the Board to make full use of its electronic voting machines to deliver faster, more reliable results and avert a “national election night embarrassment.”
Read the full letter below:
July 17, 2012
Maria R. Guastella, President
Frederic M. Umane, Secretary
Jose Miguel Araujo, Commissioner
Naomi Barrera, Commissioner
Julie Dent, Commissioner
Nancy Mottola-Schacher, Commissioner
J.C. Polanco, Commissioner
J.P. Sipp, Commissioner
Gregory C. Soumas, Commissioner
Judith D. Stupp, Commissioner
Board of Elections in the City of New York
32 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10004-1609
In just four short months, New Yorkers will go to the polls to vote for President of the United States. This election will be the first Presidential election in which New York City’s electronic ballot scanners are used. If deployed as intended, these machines should dramatically reduce the amount of time required to conduct an election night tally of votes.
Unfortunately, as it stands, New York City is poised for a national election night embarrassment. While jurisdictions across the state of New York will be using memory sticks to quickly tally their votes, here in New York City, our poll workers must carry out an illogical six-step process: printing out paper records from each machine, cutting the paper into sections, adding the numbers by district, writing these totals on a piece of paper, taking these numbers to the central police station, and last but not least, typing them into a computer. In November, the entire nation will be waiting for this process to unfold. If we preserve this time-intensive and error-prone system, it is entirely plausible that the state of Hawaii could announce their election results before New York City.
Now is the time to bring our system of vote counting in New York City into the 21st Century. We understand the Commissioners are considering procedural changes, and we are hopeful they will represent an improvement. We, the undersigned, represent a diverse community of public leaders, good government groups, lawyers and voting advocates. We urge the Commissioners to act now before it is too late. New York City must design a procedure to make full use of the electronic scanners, and join the rest of the state and country in establishing a quick, efficient process for releasing the preliminary vote totals on Election Night.
Chair, Voter Assistance Advisory Commission
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York
Executive Director, Common Cause NY
Chair, City Affairs Committee, League of Women Voters of the City of New York
Government Reform Coordinator, NYPIRG
President, Women’s City Club
Henry T. Berger, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Thomas J. Garry, Esq.
Attorney at Law