Civic Groups Decry Charges of Misconduct & Favoritism at Board of Elections

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Susan Lerner

August 29, 2012


Civic Groups Decry Charges of Misconduct & Favoritism at Board of Elections

Call on Mayor and Speaker to Act to Reduce Influence of Patronage at Board

Today’s report in the Daily News about the appointment of workers who staff poll sites reinforces the need for reform of the patronage controlled structure of the Board of Elections. Confidence in our election system is central to a healthy democracy. Unfortunately, fundamental change is needed at the state level to rid our elections of the outdated patronage system that allows party leaders to dominate the staffing of the Board and at poll sites. Given the recent recalcitrance of the Legislature and Governors to tackle this issue, we urge action here in New York City. We call for the following:

Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and our elected leaders should be taking public positions calling on party leaders to cede their power to appoint poll workers and in its place, create a new system to run sites on Election Day. A good start would be for the Mayor and Speaker to strengthen and approve proposed Council legislation that would give comp time to non-emergency workers on Primary Days to work the polls (they already have the General Election off.) This would help break the grip of the patronage dominated Board, even if Albany fails to act; and

The City Board of Elections should make public, all lists of poll workers nominated by the Democratic and Republican Party District Leaders along with those approved and those rejected to enable the public to have a clearer view of the administration of our elections.