It hasn’t exactly been a banner week for the New York City Board of Elections, and it’s only Monday. The fallout of a problem-plagued presidential primary last week continued today with an offer of $20 million in extra city funding from Mayor Bill de Blasio—but only if the board cleans up its act. That would include making “systemic changes” based on recommendations from an outside consultant and publicly posting all job vacancies, improving poll worker staffing with better pay and better training, and communicating more clearly with voters about poll sites, election days and registration statuses. “We’ve said this is, in effect, a challenge grant,” Mr. de Blasio said. “There’s a lot we’d like to help the Board of Elections do, but we must see commitment to reform and modernization, or we’re not going to spend the taxpayers’ dollars.”
But many reforms to the board, which is made up of patronage appointments by political party bosses in each county, will be beyond the reach of Mr. de Blasio, who said he believed legislative action was needed.
“I think we need to professionalize the Board of Elections. Let’s face it: For decades and decades it’s been a strange combination of government sanctioned but party-run,” Mr. de Blasio said. “And it’s time for a more professional approach.”
The board has never had a great reputation for running smooth elections but has come under more fire than usual after more than 100,000 people were purged from Brooklyn voter rolls .