For Immediate Release Statement on Best Practices forThe Appointment of Commissioners to the NYC Board of Elections

Written by Susan Lerner on February 8, 2013

For Immediate Release:


February 8, 2013

Susan Lerner, CC/NY: 212-691-6421;

Neal Rosenstein, NYPIRG: 917.575.4317;

Kate Doran, LWVNYC: 212.725.3541

Statement on Best Practices forThe Appointment of Commissioners to the NYC Board of Elections

Our organizations have long called for greater transparency and accountability regarding the appointment of Commissioners to the New York City Board of Elections. Given the current turnover of Board Commissioners, we urge all parties involved to adopt the following principles regarding appointments to the Board.

We are not taking a position on the current controversy surrounding the appointing authority for Commissioners. However, we believe that any individual wishing to be appointed to the Board should publicly release a statement regarding their positions on important and relevant issues facing the Board and voters of New York City. The failure to provide such information to the public would be a disappointing start for any Commissioner or those who appoint them. Such a statement should include information such as:

How does your background and experience prepare you to be a Commissioner for the City Board of Elections, in particular, voting-rights, election-related experience and auditing experience?

What is your knowledge of the current City Board Structure and commissioner's responsibilities?

What are your priorities for improving the current City Board structure or practices?

What are your goals and priorities for election reform in the city?

What is your experience with community outreach and public education and demonstrated willingness to work with community representatives to ensure appropriate outreach and education formats?

What is your familiarity with current voting rights and election administration issues, including, but not limited to, the current optical scan voting system, the voter database, poll worker recruitment, and training, requirements under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and other federal voting rights requirements, and preparation for the upcoming elections?

What is your recent work history, including current or recent partisan positions held in New York State along with experience in organization and election related activities on behalf of specific candidates?

What is your position on the use of technology to enhance City Board communications including:

webcasting of weekly meetings;

online voter registration; and

urging amendment of voter registration applications at the state level to include an optional email address for voters to receive timely information?

Do you support an expanded national search for an Executive Director of the City Board including advertising the opening in appropriate newspapers and on online job search sites? Do you believe that the search for Executive Director should be confined to applicants from within the five boroughs?

Do you support the City Board voluntarily reporting to the Mayor's Management Report, or support current Council legislation that would require the Board to report such metrics to the Council?

How should the Board better coordinate with City agencies to ensure compliance with the City's Pro-Voter Law to increase voter registration?

The City Board has interpreted state election law so that for many City Board staff positions there must be a Republican and Democrat. Good government groups have argued that a bipartisan split is not required for as many positions and a looser interpretation of the law could save the Board and City funds. What is your view on the extent to which bipartisan splits in City Board positions must be achieved?

Do you support providing voter notices in alternative formats (audio, Braille and large print) upon request for voters with visual disabilities?

Office: Common Cause New York

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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