New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Post Why voting in NYC is poised to be a complete mess by Rich Calder

Why voting in NYC is poised to be a complete mess

The city’s Board of Elections, which hasn’t demonstrated it can handle local races, faces perhaps its stiffest test on Tuesday when a likely record number of voters hit the polls for the presidential race.

With a record 4.4 million registered voters, officials are scrambling to get ready for voter turnout possibly reaching 3 million for the first time in the Big Apple’s history.

Many city and state officials are skeptical about whether the embattled agency is up to the challenge following the mysterious purge of 126,000 voters from the rolls in April’s presidential primaries.

“I am deeply concerned about whether a patronage-run Board of Elections can run an election properly,” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said on Monday.

Kallos, who chairs the council’s Government Operations Committee, added that he left an oversight hearing last month still believing voters are in for long lines and snafus, despite recent efforts to increase the number of poll workers to 36,000 and boost voting technology at the 1,205 poll sites.

Michael Ryan, the agency’s executive director, brushed the criticism aside, telling The Post he and his staff are more than ready for the big day.

As an example, he disclosed that polling places have received 10 percent more ballots than there are registered voters, to ensure that no site runs out.

Ryan added that his agency is “fully focused on serving the voters of New York City,” but declined to address the criticism by Kallos and other public officials.

During the previous presidential election, in 2012, some 2.44 million of the city’s 4.22 million registered voters cast ballots.

Four years earlier, 2.61 million voters participated in the first presidential election won by Barack Obama — the most since 1965, when 2.65 million voters elected John Lindsay as mayor.

On Friday, a Brooklyn federal judge ruled that the BOE must provide affidavit ballots to any voter who is not on the rolls but believes he or she is registered to vote. The judge acted in response to a lawsuit filed after voters were removed from the rolls without warning.

Ryan insisted the BOE has always followed that procedure.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is conducting a probe of BOE’s primary-election fiasco, said he is expecting problems and has set up a hot line, (800) 771-7755, to take voter complaints.

US Attorneys Preet Bharara and Robert Capers have also set up special phone lines for voter complaints. In Manhattan, Bronx, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties, voters can call (646) 369-4739. In Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Nassau and Suffolk counties, call (718) 254-6323.

The good-government group NYPIRG has a separate hot line at (212) 822-0282.




Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.