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Williams Knocks Board of Election's Management of Polling Sites

"I expected problems in hard-hit areas, but nothing close to this," the Councilman said.


Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Ditmas Park, came down hard on the New York City Board of Elections Wednesday, saying the Board "succeeded at failing beyond [his] wildest expectations" at managing Brooklyn polling sites during the Nov. 6 general election.

“I didn’t think the Board of Elections could do a worse job than they did on Primary Day," Williams said.

"Hurricane Sandy was an unfortunate obstacle, but the conditions I witnessed make it obvious that the problems went beyond this storm. I expected problems in hard-hit areas, but nothing close to this in my district."

A message was left with the NYC Board of Elections for comment.

Williams went on to say it seemed there was no contingency planning and no forethough of staffing and logistical needs in the wake of the storm's affects on the area. "... [A]nd frankly if this was the case our local elections should have been postponed," he continued.  

The councilman took to Twitter throughout election day to voice concerns with polling sites. He repeatedly directed tweets toward the BOE, calling the conditions "outrageous, disgraceful and disrespectful to what voting should be." 

Voters in Ditmas Park also expressed frustration with the voting process and with what they said was a lack of assistance in answering questions. 

"Workers were insensitive, agitated and aggravated," said Marvin Abram, a resident of Argyle Road who waited more than an hour in line in the cold to vote. 

He said many voters could be heard asking specific questions that poll workers couldn't answer. "I don't know how well they're trained,"

"New Yorkers want the Board of Elections to be held accountable," Williams said.

"No more excuses, it’s time to a complete overhaul.”

Mark L November 08, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Not sure which polling sites Williams visited, but -- with the exception of a couple of paper jams (resolved quickly) -- voting at PS 217 where I served as an inspector (scanner) voting went off without a serious glitch. Even in the face of long lines, voters were by and large patient, perhaps because there were so many new citizens voting who appreciated a freedom they had not enjoyed. That said, the "new" voting system is itself arcane at best: we used 21st century scanning technology to record votes, but then inspectors have to cut long streams of paper to actually have the votes counted. The "new" system -- in use for the first time in a presidential election -- is supposed to afford privacy but doesn't. It has turned what had been a three step process using the levered machines into a slow four step dance from signing in until votes are counted. Williams is in the wrong legislative body to address this state issue since elections are burdened with inadequate belt-and-suspenders rules.

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