Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mike Bloomberg calls election fears a 'joke,' says $20M on tap

Daily News, By Kathleen Lucadamo, Thursday, October 30th 2008

Mayor Bloomberg bashed city election officials Wednesday for predicting chaos at the polls next week due to a lack of funding, calling their charges a "joke" and an "outrage."

"We have a check sitting ready for the Board of Elections for $20 million," Bloomberg said. "But they are not getting the money until they tell us what they are going to do with it. This has been preposterous."

His harsh comments came a day after election officials warned that Election Day will be a disaster because Bloomberg turned down their emergency request for extra workers at polling sites.

Since January, 715,000 New Yorkers have registered to vote but the number of poll workers remains at 34,000, according to the Board of Elections. Election workers were ill-equipped for the 2004 presidential election, when many voters waited hours, phones lines were overloaded and untrained poll workers made matters worse.

Bloomberg said the city has banked $20 million for the Board of Elections to follow the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 but won't release the cash until it submits a spending plan. "This is an outrage," the mayor said. "This is a joke."

Board spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez-Rivera called it "unfortunate that the mayor would resort to these negative comments less than a week before a historic election where we expect unprecedented turnout."

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Robert Burns Oct 30, 2008 5:23:16 AM Report Offensive Post
"We have a check sitting ready for the Board of Elections for $20 million." I wonder how long it's been sitting there and why it hasn't been used, don't you? $20 million dollars to be spent on people who don't know what they are doing to oversee an election that's already been decided seems absurd but this is New York City isn't it? Walking and chewing gum at the same time qualifies people to run this city and we pay them $20 million for that ability. That's the true election fear and yes it is a joke, a very bad joke awaiting the Applause Sign to light to flash.

nyawker Oct 30, 2008 6:30:17 AM Report Offensive Post
Bag Bloomberg and put him out with the trash. He does not even deserve to make a comment about voting and democracy,

pv327 Oct 30, 2008 7:08:22 AM Report Offensive Post
bloomberg and the rest of his "tribe' vote based on how the candidate has his or her stance on israel, not america. germans, italians, irish americans, etc, vote on which candidate will do the best for america. we need an american first president,

michael_knight Oct 30, 2008 8:44:03 AM Report Offensive Post
Another reason I'm glad I left NY

Slugger Oct 30, 2008 12:07:20 PM Report Offensive Post
Bloomberg delights in hypocrisy. He schemes to overturn term limits in New York City, but goes to California to speak in favor of a proposition that would limit terms. He bashes city election officials for predicting voting chaos, but he himself used a prediction of dire financial straits as a reason he should stay on as mayor, a prediction that The New York Times reported he knew was a lie when he said it two days before the rigged City Council vote. He champions a law for people to be cited for drinking alcohol in public but is seen chugging a Coors beer at Giant Stadium. Will someone scrape this billionaire barnacle off the backside of what was once known as Fun City?

Aint_Haten_On_U_Yet Oct 30, 2008 12:40:38 PM Report Offensive Post
1 week before the election and scumberg is still holding money needed for an election, that should have been spent months ago. to train workers, make sure polling machines are working correctly. yea and he thinks were actually going to vote him back into office. i wont be voting him back in. thats for sure. why doesnt he take his azz back to boston and run those policitians out of office? oh wait because his billionaire cronies dont want to live in boston. they want to live in nyc

2A_in_NYC Oct 30, 2008 5:17:18 PM Report Offensive Post
The only joke in this city (aside from the gun laws) are him and the rest of those tumors at city hall that continue to plague cancer on our city. I don't know about the rest of you, but i want to volunteer to PERSONALLY stand guard of ALL the voting machines with 12 gauge shotgun from now until the results of 2009's election.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New York Times Editorial: Voting and the City

October 27, 2008

For all the focus on balloting problems in Ohio and Florida, New Yorkers should not be surprised to encounter some glitches when they try to cast ballots next week. Only it won’t necessarily be the voting machines that will be to blame, at least not the mechanical ones.

Board of ElectionsElections in New York City are managed by an arcane and secretive body — the New York City Board of Elections — that, in turn, is controlled by party leaders in the city’s five boroughs. Over the years, they have turned it into a nest of good old-fashioned patronage that Boss Tweed and the boys down at Tammany Hall would have admired.

Because of late mailings to voters, thousands of absentee ballots might not be received in time to be postmarked by the deadline of Nov. 3. A purge of more than 30,000 voters has raised questions about how many people were mistakenly dropped from the city’s official lists.

And when the elections offices were deluged with new registrations — 200,000 in the last two weeks before the registration deadline — they apparently had difficulty coping.

As a result, many new voters might not find their names on the rolls. Some may be on supplementary lists, but others could be required to vote on provisional ballots, never an ideal way to cast a ballot.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often rails about the secretive nature of city’s elections board, also made things worse in the short term. He cut city funds to the board and failed to spring for extra temporary employees to help with the expected crowds. Mr. Bloomberg is right that the city needs a better elections operation, but the mayor should have passed along enough emergency funds to help voters on Election Day.

The real scandal for city voters would be if everybody forgets after the election just how bad this system really is. Ideally, it should be junked in favor of a nonpartisan board and civil servants who serve the voters. But such changes require a constitutional amendment, a near impossibility when so much patronage is involved.

For now, the most important reform would be for this board to open its books immediately to allow a full airing of its operations. Then the mayor, the comptroller, the city’s voting rights groups and even the public could start holding the elections board accountable.