Monday, November 10, 2008

Throw the bums out: Board of Elections bozos have to go

Daily News Editorial, Monday, November 10th 2008

How miserably the New York City Board of Elections performed in conducting the city's share of the historic vote that propelled Barack Obama to the White House has only begun to become clear.

As is well known, millions of voters were forced to wait on lines for up to four hours to cast their ballots. The board says delays of that duration were unavoidable because of the massive turnout.

That is rubbish.

RELATED: THUMBS DOWN ON BOARD OF ELECTIONS
The truth, documented in Sunday's Daily News, is that the board ran the most important election of our time like a two-bit fire drill of bozos. The chief clowns being Executive Director Marcus Cederqvist and board Secretary Frederic Umane.

News reporters Benjamin Lesser and Greg B. Smith unearthed startling indications of how many voters were baffled by or fed up with unprofessionalism at their polling stations.

The New York Public Interest Research Group, a watchdog organization that is hardly a household name, fielded 1,250 complaint calls Tuesday. Election Protection, another little-known vote-monitoring organization, tallied 1,752 reports.

By the group's count, that put New York State at the top of voter complaints nationwide, with the city making up the vast majority of calls.

Meanwhile, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund fielded 664 complaints, most about poll workers who mixed up Asian names.

Cederqvist, Umane and the rest of the board should be ashamed. No, as we've said before, they should be fired.

Complaint reports included poll workers who couldn't find voters' names that began with L; poll workers who told voters to leave and try later when a machine broke down; a poll worker who cursed people out, and a poll worker who went into the booth with a voter because she wanted to see whom he was voting for.

A favorite is the call from a voter who didn't want to accuse a poll worker of drunkenness but said the worker was "clearly having some problems."

These stories, undoubtedly replicated many times over, and the long waits to vote are the natural byproduct of a system that places responsibility for running elections in the hands of an antiquated, unprofessional, patronage-ridden operation accountable to no one.

From barely trained poll workers to Cederqvist, everyone who works for the board has the same qualification: All are politically connected.

Cederqvist, for example, has less management experience than a street-corner hot dog vendor but is paid $159,720 to run this $90 million-a-year operation.

Tuesday's debacle focused a spotlight on the open scandal that the board has been for years. It is long past time for reform

2 comments:

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