The passage of voting reforms in the state legislature is a great start for New Yorkers - but they won’t mean anything unless they are properly implemented by non-machine affiliated professional civil servants. As Public Advocate, I will be the people’s watchdog to make sure the current reforms are properly implemented. I will also advocate for the passage of policies that are missing from this first round of reforms.
Monitor the Implementation of Voting Reforms:
As Public Advocate I will ensure that the NYC Board of Elections properly implements all voting reforms. I will direct my office to track all reforms and monitor progress and I will immediately issue reports if there are issues with implementation. We must ensure that political influence over the BoE does not impact the rights of all New Yorkers to vote.
Advocate for Additional Reforms:
Continue to advocate for passage of policies that are missing from this first round of reforms, including:
Advocate for no excuse absentee ballots.
Reduce the deadline to change party affiliation in advance of a primary vote.
Modernize Board of Elections communications, such as providing notice of upcoming elections via email and text message.
Support passage and implementation of The Voter Friendly Ballot Act to make ballots clear and easy to understand.
Modern Technology and Procedures at the Polls:
The city should invest in updating equipment and infrastructure as well as cybersecurity measures, so that people are not met with long lines due to broken machines on voting day. I will hold quarterly City Council hearings on BoE’s efforts to fix our election day processes and technology systems.
Holding our Board of Elections to the Highest Ethical Standards:
Hundreds of thousands of voters were wiped from the system prior to the 2016 election, machines were broken on voting day and recent stories have circulated of the Head of the Board taking trips on the dime of a vendor doing business with his agency.
As someone who has worked to support and advance democracy reforms throughout my career, I find the behavior of our Board of Elections unacceptable. I will monitor the operations of the BoE to ensure it functions as it should, in the public interest.
The Board of Elections must be held accountable for making sure voting is accessible to every New Yorker and that every vote cast is counted. As Public Advocate, I would use the fullest extent of the law to make sure our voters can exercise their right to vote unencumbered and without delay.