[Image courtesy of nysonglines]
In the first year of this blog, I have blogged numerous times about issues in New York City - and the public frustration (mirrored in the media) about the ongoing problems at the New York City Board of Elections.
I didn't think it was possible for the situation to get any more heated. I was wrong.
The results of the June 26 federal primary - in particular, the closely-watched race for Congress between longtime incumbent Charles Rangel and challenger Adriano Espaillat - have been called into question after it was revealed that Election Night results showing a 20-point victory by Rep. Rangel masked a much closer race. Indeed, the most recent counts show Rangel with a lead of just 802 votes.
In addition, stories after the election reported that 79 precincts, many of them in areas thought to be strong for Espaillat, had initially reported vote totals of zero on Election Night. Moreover, many supporters of Espaillat reported that they were told their names were not on the rolls and asked to fill out affidavit (provisional) ballots. Because of these problems, Espaillat has begun steps to secure a recount, and is asking for monitors to oversee the count and any further proceedings, which he says could include a re-run.
Problems like this are a nightmare for any election office, but it appears that they're increasingly commonplace in New York City. This latest problem has, if possible, raised media scorn to new heights. Consider the following passage from a recent story (note: NOT an op-ed) in the New York Times:
There is broken, and maddening, and politically wired, not to mention patronage-encrusted. Then there is the New York City Board of Elections, which manages to ball all of those into a wildly dysfunctional planet.
The Rangel-Espaillat race will eventually be resolved, one way or another. But the ongoing problems at the Board of Elections - which seem to be uniting most of New York in a sense of incredulity - are going to need attention immediately if not sooner.