Calls grow for NYC elections board overhaul after botched vote count

Anger mounted against the Board of Elections on Wednesday after the agency botched the initial tallies under the Big Apple’s new ranked-choice voting system — because employees failed to clear out ballots from a test run and no one caught the error.

“Yet again, the fundamental structural flaws of the Board of Elections are on display,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who once offered the agency $20 million in 2016 to pay for reforms, only to be rebuffed by the political party bosses who control it under the state’s constitution.

“There must be an immediate, complete re-canvass of the BOE’s vote count and a clear explanation of what went wrong,” de Blasio added. “The record number of voters who turned out this election deserve nothing less.”

Elections officials admitted the giant flub in a statement sent late Tuesday night, acknowledging that employees failed to properly reset the ranked-choice computer system after a system test, which resulted in adding an erroneous 135,000 extra votes to the tally.

One leading mayoral contender, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, took the airwaves to express her disgust.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mayor Bill de Blasio offered the Board of Elections $20 million in 2016 to pay for reforms but rebuffed by the political party leaders who control the agency.
Matthew McDermott

The now-retracted tentative results had shown her vaulting into second place and narrowly trailing front-runner Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams by just 16,000 votes — with more than 124,000 absentees still to be counted.

“I wish I was more surprised that the Board of Elections was struggling to get this right, but to be quite honest, after what we’ve seen over the last year or so, I’m not,” Garcia said Wednesday morning on WPIX-TV/Ch. 11. “This is an organization that really needs a full revamp. It needs to be professionalized.”

The BOE said in the statement that it will re-compute and re-release the tentative rank-choice voting results later today.

Kathryn Garcia.
“I wish I was more surprised that the Board of Elections was struggling to get this right,” candidate Kathryn Garcia said.
Matthew McDermott

Those results will be incomplete because they incorporate only the ballots cast during early voting and on Primary Day. The 125,000 absentee votes cast in the contest are currently being tallied separately and will be included in the July 6 re-run of the ranked-choice voting results.

Final certified tallies could come by July 12.

Metro | New York Post

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