Thursday, November 8, 2012
Board of Elections needs complete overhaul
From the NY Times:
A day after New York City voters encountered waits lasting hours and chaos at many poll sites, elected officials and government watchdog groups agreed that the city’s election process needed major change. But there was little consensus about what to do or how it could be done.
The State Constitution sets the parameters for how all elections in the state are managed, requiring that Republicans and Democrats be equally represented at all levels of election administration. In New York City, the 10 Board of Elections members are recommended by the Democratic and Republican Party committees in each of the five boroughs and then confirmed by the City Council. The parties also play a central role in installing people in staff positions. The board currently has no executive director in part because the county leaders have not been able to agree on a candidate.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a frequent critic of the board, called Wednesday for eliminating the patronage system by which the commissioners are appointed.
Changing the system, however, would require state legislation, if not an amendment to the State Constitution. And not everyone agrees that a nonpartisan system would be an improvement.
“Some people have said we should have the mayor and the City Council appoint the members of the board,” Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh of Manhattan, said. But, he added, “when the mayor and City Council have an interest in the outcome of the election, how is that any better?”