The manufacturer of the city’s jam-plagued ballot scanners misled the Board of Elections about the devices’ vulnerability to humidity, which likely contributed to the Big Apple’s Election Day meltdown, The Post has learned. Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software claimed its scanners could operate in any humidity level in a key document it filed as part of its winning bid for the $56 million contract. But ES&S contradicts itself in the very instruction manual it publishes for the model of scanner the BOE purchased, filings with authorities in other states show. “Humidity and wetness were a factor in the paper jams on Election Day and ES&S was not transparent in the contract about the implications of wetness and humidity,” said Alex Camarda, an elections expert with the government watchdog Reinvent Albany.Full Article: High humidity levels may have caused NYC's Election Day fiasco.
Articles about voting issues in New York.
Voting on the weekend could be coming in 2020 for New Yorkers. An overhaul of the state’s election procedures is expected to be one of the consequences of the Democratic takeover of the state Senate, which will likely be more receptive to proposed reforms that had passed the Democratic-controlled state Assembly, including early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and a single legislative primary date. Progressive activists and Senate Democrats anticipate voting reforms will be near the top of the Legislature’s agenda when state lawmakers return to Albany in January. Many of these proposals were held up in the state Senate’s committee process during GOP control of the chamber.Full Article: Voting in New York poised for overhaul - Times Union.
New York: Over 1,000 Ballot Scanners Went Unused During New York City Election Day Fiasco | Gothamist
While thousands of New Yorkers stood in hours-long lines waiting for their chance to vote in last Tuesday’s midterm election, more than 1,000 Board of Elections scanners that could have been deployed to alleviate wait times and scanner malfunctions were kept out of circulation, according to officials on the Board. The details emerged following the first regularly scheduled meeting of the BOE since a chaotic election that saw widespread problems at poll sites in NYC. The meeting lasted less than eight minutes, but each commissioner still earned their regular pay of $300, in accordance with state law. Manhattan Commissioner Frederick Umane spoke to reporters following the brief session Tuesday. “We had over 300 scanners that were not deployed because we didn’t have room for them in the poll sites,” he said, speaking specifically about Manhattan. Umane said the BOE had consolidated some poll sites into buildings that were ADA accessible and run out of room to fit additional scanners.Full Article: Over 1,000 Ballot Scanners Went Unused During NYC Election Day Fiasco: Gothamist.
When Rebekah Burgess Abromovich got in line to vote at the North Henry Street polling center in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, only two electronic voting scanners were working. After an hour of voting, the working machines were down to one. When she finally submitted her ballot more than three hours after arriving, volunteers had begun handing out emergency ballot boxes, which few understood how to use. “I was lucky because I was given the day off to vote,” she said. But other people were bailing. “I was standing next to a teacher who waited for two and a half hours, and then had to leave to teach a class. She said she had to come back.” In polling places in New York City’s five boroughs, similar stories of out-of-commission voting machines echoed: At different points on Tuesday, only one scanner worked at Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Public Library polling station, according to NBC New York. At PS 22 in Prospect Heights, all four scanners broke for much of the morning, before getting fixed at 10 am. Elsewhere, ballot sleeves were missing. Lines stretched blocks and hours long.Full Article: Were NYC’s Technical Difficulties Voter Suppression? - CityLab.
Republicans are attacking an initiative by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore the voting rights of former felons, holding hearings and releasing a new digital advertisement accusing him of prioritizing sex offenders over other voters. Between April and September, 30,666 parolees received a conditional pardon allowing them to vote, a member of Mr. Cuomo’s cabinet revealed this week. It is unclear how many of those people have registered, said representatives for the State Board of Elections. Previously, those convicted of felonies in New York could vote only after completing parole. The governor, a Democrat seeking a third term in November, and his team cast their effort as necessary to combat the effects of mass incarceration, and said disenfranchising voters disproportionately impacts racial minorities.Full Article: Republicans Attack Cuomo’s Plan to Restore Felons’ Voting Rights - WSJ.
As New Yorkers go to the polls to vote in state primary elections Thursday, some voters are finding there’s no record of their registration. That includes some prominent media figures: New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister and HuffPost Editor in Chief Lydia Polgreen were among those who tweeted their names were missing from the rolls at their local polling places — meaning they can’t cast a regular ballot. They were far from the only ones. Others tweeted about their experiences having to sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot for the first time in years. Local New York publication Gothamist reported “mass confusion” at some polling stations. The stakes are high this year — there are contested primaries for major statewide offices, including governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. People whose names aren’t found on the rolls can still vote, they just have to sign a sworn affidavit validating their identify before they can cast a provisional ballot.Full Article: New York primaries: Why New York City voters rolls were missing names again, explained - Vox.
For Maria Hernandez, the chief problem in Brentwood, her Long Island hometown, has always been the streets and their state of disrepair. For Ana Flores, it was the time town officials dumped tons of construction debris into one of Brentwood’s parks. Others in the hamlet, which sits within the town of Islip, mentioned different troubles — traffic lights don’t work, trash pickups are slow, schools are underfunded — but all of them, they say, have the same root cause: The way that Islip, a mostly white community, elects its local leaders has diluted the power of Latino residents, effectively robbing them of their vote. “If you come to Brentwood, you would notice that our town looks very different from the other towns in this municipality,” said Ms. Hernandez, 53, who moved to Brentwood from El Salvador nearly 20 years ago. “There’s so much lack of interest from the town board that we feel like an island. We are like a ghost town.”Full Article: Lawsuit Says Voting System in Long Island Town Shuts Out Latinos - The New York Times.
With the elections season heating up, there is increasing attention to making sure someone with bad intent cannot interfere with the vast computer systems behind the vote. The country is filled with different election systems. Some are completely computerized, others not and a lot in between. Erie County has voting machines that scan paper ballots and deliver a count when the polls close. However, those paper ballots are still available if there is a recount. New York is conducting a series of cybersecurity drills through mid-June to test how vulnerable the state’s election system is to hacking. The exercises will simulate scenarios in which a hostile group seeks to tamper with voting systems, change election tallies or otherwise undermine voter confidence. The events are meant to help officials identify problems with election security before they can be exploited.Full Article: Protecting against a hack attack this election | WBFO.
Federal and New York state officials say they will hold drills in the weeks leading up to primary elections for the U.S. House and Senate to prevent hacking and other cyber threats to voting systems, officials said on Wednesday. The exercises, which will begin in Albany on Thursday, come amid heightened scrutiny of the nation’s voting systems following Russian hacking in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “The people of New York deserve an open, transparent election process they can trust, and these exercises are an integral part of restoring voter confidence and the integrity of our election infrastructure,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.Full Article: New York launches drills to thwart election hacking | Reuters.
Saratoga County Board of Elections has once again rejected a request for copies of the electronic ballots cast in November’s charter referendum that was defeated by 10 votes. In a May 25, 2018 letter from the county Board of Supervisors, the former chair of the now disbanded Charter Review Commission Bob Turner was informed that the request “is duplicative of your previous request, which (has) been fully settled.” Turner said the move by Board of Election Commissioners Roger Schiera (Republican) and William Fruci (Democrat) “undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. If the election was run properly, there is nothing to hide,” Turner said. The city’s charter-change advocates submitted a second Freedom of Information Law request after an April 12 ruling of 3-2 in Kosmider vs. Whitney in the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court. A panel of five judges ruled that electronic ballot images in this Essex County case can be accessed through a FOIL request. The Board of Supervisors in Essex County, the Sun Community News reported, has filed a paperwork reserving the right to appeal.Full Article: Board of Elections say 'no' to request for ballots - Times Union.
New York: Senate Democrats look to simplify voting process ahead of federal and state primaries | The Legislative Gazette
The New York State Senate Democratic Conference is sponsoring a package of bills to simplify the voter registration process for primary, general and special elections after releasing their own report researching low voter turnout. The Senate Democratic report, “Why Don’t More New Yorkers Vote? A Snapshot Identifying Low Voter Turnout,” explains in the executive summary that New York was “41st in turnout in the nation, and [was] worst in the Northeast” during the 2016 general election. This conclusion was based on “unofficial results” available on the state election board’s website cited in the study and an additional study done by the U.S. Election Project.Full Article: Senate Dems look to simplify voting process ahead of federal and state primaries – The Legislative Gazette.
New York: Win for Election Transparency as Court Rules Ballot Images Are Public Records | WhoWhatWhy
Election-integrity advocates hailed the recent decision of a state court that could have a sweeping effect on election transparency throughout the country. At issue was whether electronic ballot images — the kind captured by optical and digital ballot scanners — are public records and therefore subject to freedom of information laws. That is particularly important because most Americans cast their ballots through some kind of electronic voting machine — despite their proven vulnerability — and ballot images provide the public with at least some measure that their votes are counted accurately. Therefore, easy access to these images is crucial. Knowing that the public has some measure of verification is an important deterrent against tampering with elections. That is precisely why this case from upstate New York is a major victory for transparency advocates.Full Article: Win for Election Transparency as Court Rules Ballot Images Are Public Records - WhoWhatWhy.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he intends to restore voting rights to felons on parole, a move that could open the ballot box to more than 35,000 people. The mechanism through which Mr. Cuomo plans to do so is unusual: He would consider pardons for all 35,000 people currently on parole in New York, as well as any new convicted felons who enter the parole system each month. The move amounts to a legal sidestep of the State Legislature, where the Republican-controlled Senate has opposed many of Mr. Cuomo’s proposed criminal justice reforms. It does not change state law, which currently bars convicted felons from voting unless they are on probation or have completed parole.Full Article: Cuomo Plans to Restore Voting Rights to Paroled Felons - The New York Times.
Seven voters in New York’s 25th Congressional District have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, for failing, so far, to call a special election. The seat has been vacant since long-serving Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter died on March 16. The plaintiffs said because the governor has not issued a Proclamation of Election in a “reasonably timely manner,” they have been denied their constitutionally-protected rights to vote and to representation. The suit claimed Cuomo is required to call the election and should have been prepared to do so promptly after Slaughter died.Full Article: NY-25 Voters File Lawsuit To Force Special Election.
Despite months of lobbying by voting reform activists, local and county officials and good government groups, lawmakers in Albany failed to include funding for early voting in the final version of the 2018-2019 budget. The completed spending plan, which was finalized early Saturday morning ahead of the start of a new fiscal year, does not include Gov. Cuomo’s proposed early voting plan. The proposal, which was outlined in the 2018 State of the State address in January, would have implemented up to 12 days of early voting ahead of election day. New York is currently one of 13 states that does not have early voting beyond absentee ballots.Full Article: Funding for early voting excluded from state budget – The Legislative Gazette.
New York: Board of Elections To Roll Out ‘Electronically Assisted’ Voter Registration | Gotham Gazette
New York’s voting and registration laws have long been derided as onerous and needlessly restrictive, falling far behind most other states that have implemented modern methods to register and cast a vote. While significant changes to state election laws are being debated in Albany ahead of a new state budget, the New York City Board of Elections may improve, albeit incrementally, people’s access to the ballot by soon providing digital aid to register to vote. The Board of Elections, a quasi-state agency funded by the city, is set to roll out a new website in the coming months which will provide New Yorkers with an “electronically assisted way” to fill out a voter registration form and an absentee ballot application, according to BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan, who testified at a budget hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations on Monday. The two electronic forms would still have to be printed and either mailed to the BOE or delivered in person, in accordance with current state law.Full Article: Board of Elections To Roll Out ‘Electronically Assisted’ Voter Registration.
A bid to recount the votes cast in the city’s referendum on charter change has failed. State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Nolan ruled on Feb. 6 that “the petitioner presents no facts to support or justify” a recount of the November 2017 vote because there is no law that requires the Saratoga County Board of Elections to do so when the vote margin is slim. Gordon Boyd, a member of the now defunct Charter Review Commission, was looking for a recount after the proposal to update the city’s 100-year-old commission form of government was defeated by 10 votes.Full Article: Charter change recount loses court battle - Times Union.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed $7 million in funding for early voting in New York state after initially planning to leave the cost of implementing early voting to counties. County officials and voting advocates have complained that the initiative Cuomo proposed in his executive budget in January lacked funding, fearing the cost would be a new unfunded mandate from the state. Cuomo announced the proposed funding on Monday, as a 30-day amendment to the executive budget he proposed last month. The proposal would allow people to start voting 12 days before Election Day, beginning in 2019. The change would encourage voting, Cuomo said, by giving people more time to vote and reducing lines at polling places on Election Day.Full Article: Money for early voting added to budget | The Daily Gazette.
It’s time New York state finally changed its antiquated voting rules and procedures that are perpetuating the state’s low voter turnout, Democratic lawmakers in the Legislature said Tuesday as they announced yet another election reform package. New York ranks among the bottom in terms of voter turnout, a situation Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, of Yonkers, called “extremely embarrassing” during a news conference detailing some of the 13 voting rights bills aimed at making it easier for New Yorkers to cast ballots. Among the Democrats’ top priorities is allowing early voting, which already is in place in 34 states.Full Article: NY State Lawmakers Again Pushing for Voting Reforms | New York News | US News.
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed reforms to make voting easier in New York state, including allowing early voting before Election Day, he left something out: the cost. His proposed 2018-2019 state budget released earlier this week doesn’t include any money for launching the initiative, but an estimated $6.4 million in costs are to be paid collectively by county Boards of Elections, which administer the local election systems. It is exactly what county officials had feared. Counties say that isn’t fair to them, and voting rights advocates who had been hopeful there would be money for the initiative were disappointed.Full Article: No state money for early voting in budget | The Daily Gazette.