The story of a poll observer

End of school story – It was nice to see the staff and faculty at Loyola School enjoying a relaxing time at Dylan Murphy’s pub in the late afternoon early last month as they bid farewell to summer at the end of the school year. With masks ready, they stood up, sat down, raised their glasses, and shared piles of nachos, chicken wings and sliders in Dylan Murphy’s outdoor structure on 3rd Ave near 82nd St. And the sudden torrential rains did not slow him down.

Brouhaha ballot – The Elections Council takes center stage again. And for reasons known and unknown, they are never good. With a new ranked vote on the ballot and new digs for the BOE, now located in Hudson Yards, I thought I would sit down and see how it all worked out. To do this, you must be a poll observer or a journalist. Both require credentials, and I came to monitor the poll for Tricia Shimamura, candidate for District 5 City Council. So, with a Poll Observer Certificate, I was seated at a table where the 73rd and 76th AD votes were counted. It didn’t take long for me to see that looking at the polls wasn’t my strong suit. I went to another table and was assisted in my count by Erica Vladimer, a lawyer and attorney, who was at the BOE on behalf of district candidate Prez Mark Levine.

I followed up with Erica to get her perspective on the new electoral process. She said she was not surprised that the primary elections flooded the news cycle for the week and said it was also no surprise that the New York Elections Board, negligently underfunded and unprofessional, made headlines in the city’s inaugural election after mistakenly taking 135,000 “dummy” votes into their calculations. Although 24 hours later they would have solved that problem and redone the ranked pick calculations, she said the results released the next day were not only unofficial, they were also incomplete with over 125,000 ballots per. correspondence to be taken into account in the first round. the counting of the ballots.

And, she noted, if history has taught us anything, it’s that postal ballots can make or break an election result. “Even the NYS Election Law emphasizes the importance of mail ballots, allowing campaign representatives to” as we did the day before the actual count, any crippling flaw “with some voters having the opportunity to” remedy ” on their ballot from a disqualifying defect. In fact, she said, “not only will the BOE notify a voter of this opportunity, but campaigns can also reach voters whose ballots need to be corrected.” Vladimer believes that “if elected officials and campaigns go to great lengths to ensure the validity of postal ballots, why would the BOE calculate and publish election results without them?” It is difficult to build on the transparency argument when true transparency would include preferential preliminary votes on election night. But the BOE only released top tier preliminaries and followed it with totally botched calculations. Full transparency also includes adhering to standard open meeting laws, which the BOE failed to do when it held a secret meeting on Wednesday. [the day after the count] to discuss the botched count. More so, recent amendments to the state’s mail-in ballot law are the result of massive flaws that deprived thousands of mail-in ballots last year. “

As never before, postal ballots can no longer be overlooked and treated as an afterthought, or as Vladimer puts it, “an asterisk on the preliminary vote count.” And there is hope. State Senator Zellnor Myrie, chairman of the Elections Committee, has pledged to hold public hearings on legislative election reform and ways to encourage New Yorkers to participate in elections.

This all came from my experience as a poll observer. The reporter part of me was intrigued that the BOE is on the same floor as Amazon in the Brookfield Properties building at 450 West 33rd St.

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