New York Daily News NYC Board Of Elections Dismisses DOI Reform Recommendations As Outdated, Vague by Celeste Katz
In a 20-page rebuttal to the December DOI study, BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan said many of the DOI's reform recommendations are inconsistent with how the Board is forced to operate under state law.
He also chewed out the investigators for sending undercover agents -- a move DOI officials have called a standard procedure in a probe of this nature -- to pose as dead or otherwise disqualified voters, and said in the majority of the cases, the city Board had no way to know the people whose names were used at the polls shouldn't or couldn't vote.
"It cannot be overstated that this particular tactic employed by your agency should never again be replicated," warned Ryan, who testified before the City Council on budget matters Tuesday.
As to the DOI's recommendation that the Board do away with its traditional nepotism, Ryan again argued that the bipartisan agency's state-mandated structure establishes the hiring rules, and said charges of favoritism were "based on an essentially unsubstantiated conclusion."
A spokesperson for the DOI, which has called elections offiicials "hostile" to reform advice, told the Daily News "the BOE response fails to propose any substantive changes in practice."
Update: Also not impressed -- Councilman Ben Kallos, who led Tuesday's hearing.
"Instead of the promised corrective action plan, the city has received a defensive response from the Board of Elections. Due to this substantial noncompliance, the City Council will require regular follow up hearings to monitor progress," Kallos said. "This shouldn't be about politics or reputations: It should be about ensuring the best democratic process for New Yorkers."